The system could be one answer to slashing Earth’s carbon emissions. A Swiss startup has created a giant vacuum cleaner to capture carbon dioxide from the air, helping companies offset their emissions. WSJ visits the facility to see how it traps the gas for sale to clients like Coca-Cola, which uses it in fizzy drinks. Composite: Clément Bürge.
Political battles at the most local levels are slowing the pace of decarbonization Property owners in the windy and sunny parts of the U.S. are pushing back against large-scale renewable energy development, opposition that researchers say could slow the transition to a cleaner economy. Photo: Aaron Yoder/WSJ
Italy’s Carrara marble quarries are a source of controversy, pitting nature against economic gain. Environmentalists warn of overexploitation, while others defend the jobs these Tuscan quarries provide.
Franco Barratini quarries marble blocks that sell for €4,000 per ton. The amount of marble that was once quarried in a month can now be extracted in just three days, and environmentalists are alarmed at the consequences. Marble dust leaks into groundwater, turns rivers milky-white and hangs in the air. The effects of this are still not completely clear.
Sandro Manfredi is fighting what he sees as severe overexploitation in the marble quarries of Tuscany’s Apuan Alps. In 2018, he filed a complaint against an illegal marble quarry, and afterwards was nearly killed when someone tampered with his car. Carrara has experienced four floods in the last nine years. Environmentalists blame marble quarrying, which has increased dramatically thanks to rapidly evolving extraction techniques, upsetting the region’s hydrogeological balance.
Watering the Country’s Food Basket Is Becoming a Challenge
Droughts are part of a natural cycle of water. But the drought currently gripping the Western U.S. has climate scientists concerned that the cycle may be shifting. This has major implications for those who rely on the water the most: farmers and the communities they surround. Photo Illustration: Carter McCall/WSJ
Each year, California and the Southwest break new records for droughts and high temperatures, leading to heat waves, wildfires, and even flooding. Learn how these catastrophes operate together—and how engineers are working on new technologies to help us survive.
Air pollution still remains one of the key environmental issues in the United States. Although it has seen incredible improvement since the 1970s, more than 4 in 10 Americans are still estimated to live in counties with poor air quality. Every year, air pollution kills more than 6 million people worldwide from heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. So just how clean is the air we breathe in the U.S.?
NASA Earth science studies our planet all day, every day. By tracking the movement of our natural systems – and the effect of human activity on them – we can understand the patterns, causes and results of climate change on the elemental activities that sustain us.
On Earth Day, April 22, we take time to celebrate this wondrous planet with special discussions, events (virtual) and activities. Like our satellites, however, NASA’s Earth science goes on year-round, and we continuously create videos, activities, news and more to tell the story of what’s happening on and with our planet – and all always offered free and open to the public.
For the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, NASA created a special package of materials designed to mark Earth Day at Home. This included activities, videos, special programs and other materials in English and Spanish. You can find them all archived here.
Thilafushi, an island of floating rubbish island in the Maldives, grows by a square meter a day. But diving instructor Shaahina Ali is trying to slow that growth by recycling and using floating barriers to hold back the rising seas.
For decades, the Maldives simply dumped the trash the tourists and the island country’s 400 thousand residents generated. Yet Shaahina Ali says that has to stop. Almost every day, the diving instructor and her allies go from island to island in the Indian Ocean. Working with an environmental organization, they have obtained trash compactors that make plastic waste transportable, allowing it to be shipped abroad for recycling. Ali also advocates avoiding disposable plastic. She gives lectures, advises hotel managers and even bends the ear of the Maldives’ president himself.
When she has time, Shaahina Ali goes scuba diving. Beneath the waves she sees environmental degradation – dying corals and fish caught up in plastic waste. She says, “We can’t afford to address just one problem. We’ve got to take care of everything at once because everything is connected to the sea.” But the island paradise is not only threatened by rubbish. Climate change is also causing the sea levels to rise, and the Maldives are at risk of sinking beneath the water.
That’s why conservationists are using floating barriers made of recycled plastic to help prevent flooding. In addition to the environmental group “Parley for the Oceans,” Ali has also won politicians to her cause. Last year saw a democratic change of government in the Maldives. “The new government no longer views environmentalists as annoying troublemakers. They see us as partners instead,” Ali says. But those trying to save the island are in a race against time. “If we don’t succeed,” says Shaahina Ali, “far more than a vacation paradise will be lost. We will lose our homeland.”