One Spring’s Month

May 10, 2013

A month in the spring can make a huge difference. Move your mouse over the image (or click the image) to see the difference between April and May on the Fulton School campus.

The full sized images can be seen here.

Note: To embed the image above use:

<iframe style=”overflow:hidden;” src=”http://earthsciweb.org/js/images/spring/spring.html” width=490 height=326 seamless />

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. One Spring's Month, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Mapping Greenhouse Gas Emitters

February 10, 2013

You can now find the major greenhouse gas emitters (as well as other large facilities that emit pollutants) on the EPA’s mappable website.

The Greenhouse Gas Emitter Database from the EPA is now available as a searchable map.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Mapping Greenhouse Gas Emitters, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Recycled Instruments: A Cello Made From Some Wood and an Oil Can

January 6, 2013

“My life would be worthless without music.”

— Young Paraguayan violinist.

The Fulton School has a wonderful music program, so I’m hoping that this video, about how Paraguayan children living in a slum on a landfill have recycled classical instruments out of the trash, resonates with some of my environmental science students.

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

The Dish

Of course, we’ve seen other instruments invented out of discarded trash. The BBC has a brief history of the steel pan, but Trinbagopan.com has an much more detail. On the other hand, I prefer my history in a musical form.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Recycled Instruments: A Cello Made From Some Wood and an Oil Can, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Pollution and Crime: Leaded Gasoline and Murder

January 4, 2013

The startling correlation between the amount of lead pollution and the murder rate 21 years later. Graph from Nevin (2012).

Rick Nevin‘s research provides a lot of evidence that the amount of violent crime — murders, aggravated assault, etc. — are the result of lead pollution. Lead was added to gasoline until the 1970’s. When the gasoline was burned in car engines, the lead was released into the atmosphere where it could get into people’s systems just by breathing.

Quite a number of studies taken together have shown that high blood lead levels result in lower IQ’s, which, in turn, seems to increase aggressive behavior.

Long-term trends in paint and gasoline lead exposure are also strongly associated with subsequent trends in murder rates going back to 1900. The findings on violent crime and unwed pregnancy are consistent with published data describing the relationship between IQ and social behavior. The findings with respect to violent crime are also consistent with studies indicating that children with higher bone lead tend to display more aggressive and delinquent behavior.

— Nevin (2000): How Lead Exposure Relates to Temporal Changes in IQ, Violent Crime, and Unwed Pregnancy (pdf pre-print) in Environmental Research.

Kevin Drum summarizes the research and goes into the details to disprove the other theories for peaks in crime rates in the last century.

The Dish

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Pollution and Crime: Leaded Gasoline and Murder, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Gardens Reduce Violence

January 3, 2013

A fascinating article on the relationship between environmental conditions and sociology, explains how urban community gardens — in formerly vacant lots — actually reduced violence in the areas around them.

There’s been a growing body of research that suggests that urban farming and greening not only strengthen community bonds but also reduce violence. …

Over the course of 10 years, [gradens] reduced shootings in the areas surrounding these renewed lots. Part of it was practical: The vacant lots had previously been hiding places for guns. … and … “People just became more in touch with their neighbors. People felt more connected to each other.”

— Kotlowitz and Schiffer (2012): Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates in Mother Jones.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Gardens Reduce Violence, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Fish Genes in Tomatoes

January 1, 2013

PBS has a nice list of genetic modifications to four different plants. First on the list is the antifreeze gene from a fish that was inserted into a tomato. The tomato was infected with a bacteria that had the gene in a genetically engineered plasmid. The PBS site also discusses Bt Corn, which produces it’s own pesticide, Golden Rice, which produces it’s own beta-carotene, and the herbicide resistant Roundup Ready Soybeans.

Golden Rice produces beta-carotene, which the body uses to produce Vitamin A. Two genes, one from daffodils and one from a soil bacteria, were inserted into the rice DNA. Image from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikipedia.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Fish Genes in Tomatoes, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Water Scarcity in Yemen

September 4, 2012

Groundwater tends to be a common property resource. In places like Yemen, where ownership rights are not clearly defined it tends to be overexploited. So much so, that they’re looking at running out within the next 10 years. Peter Salisbury has an article in Foreign Policy.

Most potable water in Yemen is produced from a series of deep underground aquifers using electric and diesel-powered pumps. Some of these pumps are run by the government, but many more are run by private companies, most of them unlicensed and unregulated. Because of this, it is nigh on impossible to control the volume of water produced. By some (conservative) estimates, about 250 million cubic meters of water are produced from the Sanaa basin every year, 80 percent of which is non-renewable. In recent years, the businessmen who produce the water have had to drill ever-deeper wells and use increasingly powerful pumps to get the region’s dwindling water reserves out of the ground.

–Salisbury (2012): Yemen’s water woes in Foreign Policy.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Water Scarcity in Yemen, Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Ecological Footprints: If the World Lived Like …

August 31, 2012

What if the entire world population lived like the people in Bangladesh? The amount of land to produce the resources we’d need would take up most of Asia and some of Africa. On the other hand, if we lived like the people in the UAE we’d need 5.4 Earths to support us sustainably. That’s the result of Mathis Wackernagel’s work (Wackernagel, 2006) comparing resource availability to resource demand. Tim De Chant put this data into graphical form:

Ecological footprints needed to support the world population if everyone used resources at the rate of these different countries. Image by Tim De Chant, based on data from Wacknagel (2006).

I showed this image in Environmental Science class today when we talked about ecological footprints, as well as the one showing how much space the world population of seven billion would take up if everyone lived in one big city with the same density of a few different cities (Paris, New York, Houston etc.).

Wacknagel’s original article also includes this useful table of data for different countries that I think I’ll try to get a student to put into bar graph for a project or presentation.

Data from Wackernagel (2006).

Zoë Pollock at The Dish

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Ecological Footprints: If the World Lived Like ..., Retrieved June 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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