Environment

Safecast: una rete di volontari misura le radiazioni di Fukushima

Il gruppo di lavoro di Safecast. Credit: Safecast.

Una nube radioattiva non ha un odore, come il gas dei fornelli. Una nube radioattiva non ha colore. D’altra parte non è una nuvola per come la intendiamo. Sulle mappe, però, una nube radioattiva ha un colore: è rossa, arancio o gialla, a seconda dell’intensità della radiazione.

Women and climate adaptation

El Mouddaa is a Maroccan Berber village, where 350 people live at an altitude of 2,000 m in the mountains of the Toubkal National Park. Over the last twenty years, the community has been affected by climate change and has experienced increasing insecurity with respect to the availability of food. This has forced people to leave the country to find seasonal work. This particular state of need has increased the responsibilities delegated to women, moreover creating an opportunity for their emancipation and an increasing participation in community decisions.

Gender and climate change: what do women have to do with this issue?

Although at first sight it may appear as a mere contrivance, the question immediately acquires a clearer and more precise outline if the concept proposed is considered with respect to developing countries, where women not only represent 43 percent of the agricultural workforce (with data ranging between 50 percent and 70 percent in sub-Saharan countries) but, for socio-cultural reasons are the members of their communities delegated to the preparation of daily food.

Air pollution shortens the life expectancy of Italians

In Italy 30,000 people die every year because of air pollution caused by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) only – which corresponds to 7% of all deaths (excluding accidents). In terms of life expectancy this means that, on average, air pollution shortens the life of every Italian citizen by 10 months; 14 months for those living in Northern Italy; 6.6 months for those living in Central Italy and 5.7 for the inhabitants of Southern Italy and the islands of the country. Northern Italy is the most affected area. Respecting laws would save 11,000 lives every year.

Forest management and climate change

We can not move through time, looking at future scenarios, but we can travel in space. Climate is changing, bringing severe repercussions on ecosystems and environments. In the case of forests, causes and consequences are tied with double strings: climate changes could affect forestry equilibrium and forestry impairment could enhance climate change, since they play an important role in carbon fixation.

Big data can help biodiversity conservation

Ecology is one of the most complex scientific field in terms of variety of related areas of study. In the last years, researchers in ecology have tried to build up a model that relates data from ecology, paleontology, genomics and phylogenies, together with localization data and climate models. This effort has been made in order to create a scientifically strong model to prioritize biodiversity conservation policies.

Global warming and heating cities: a challenge for Europe

Climate change today is a reality. It involves lot of problems, the toughest ones being the loss of biodiversity, the rise of sea levels and the increase of temperatures. But there are also other less known phenomena connected with the global warming. One of them is the urban heat island, which is induced by materials composing the urban environment and involves numerous cities across Europe. Cement retains heat, sewer systems carry water away quickly, impeding the cooling, and heat is trapped between surfaces because of the so-called canyon effect.

Coastal floods: a tool for risk management

The trend of natural disasters has increased during the 20th century. In particular, hydrological disasters have acquired big dimension with the beginning of 21st century. According to the international disaster database EM-DAT, regions in European continents paid a huge cost – about 8 billion of Euro between 2010 and 2013 – for general floods. And the future could be worse than the past.

IARC: air pollution is carcinogenic

Does outdoor air pollution cause lung cancer deaths? IARC says it does. It is an historical day for epidemiology, toxicology and public health – this 17th of October – since the greatest world authority on carcinogenic agents presented in Paris the results of monograph n. 109 about outdoor air pollution. Classified as Group 1, i.e. carcinogenic for humans, outdoor air pollution is now considered as dangerous as vinyl chloride, asbestos, formaldehyde or ionizing radiations.

Environmental communication between theory and practice

In the last 15 years, European firms and public bodies have been more and more invited to invest in communication activity, in order to prevent conflicts and guarantee access to environmental information for citizens. The sixth European environmental program (1600/2002 EC) considers “the improvement of collaboration and partnership with organizations, a strategic approach for environmental goals achievements” and defines “voluntary-based commitments an essential element”.

Global warming confirmed by scientists

On Friday, 27 September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gathered in Stockholm closed the Twelfth Session of Working Group I and approved the final document on the climate “Physical Science Basis”. The results fall close to the former IPCC report of 2007, and largely confirm the official previews released in the last days. The results rely on broader and more detailed observations, especially on regional scale, and on improved climate models (Earth System Models) simulations.

Risks, probably...

In the short time span since 2009 to the present day, there have been more than 10 extreme events in Italy, with over 70 dead and with damage to infrastructures amounting to hundreds of millions of euro. In the future, owing to the effects of climatic changes, we should expect an increase in their frequency and the intensity of these events which can no longer be referred to as "extreme" if the aforementioned is taken to signify "abnormal".

The "exposome" revolution arrives

Imagine about one thousand people equipped with smartphones which, in addition to the standard functions, serve to reveal using special sensors, pollutants, and which, thanks to GPS, correlate the findings whilst on the move. Now imagine that these same persons are monitored as part of an experiment where their blood and other bodily liquids are taken, dosing them with the main metabolites; the medical sphere monitors them and conducts surveys relying on questionnaires on primary lifestyle habits.

The Taranto disaster is confirmed

The death toll in Taranto shows a dramatic increase according to the updated data of the Sentieri Study- for the 2003-2009 period - on the "causes of death, the biomonitoring and health risk related to air quality." The study was presented this week by Minister Renato Balduzzi, with the participation of the authors and the attendance of environmental associations' representatives.The first Sentieri study contained data up to 2002 and now we know that, in the Puglia capital only, overall death cases due to pollution increased by 1% compared to previous statistics, against the wh

"Pill" pollution

We can define it "pill pollution”. Yes, we're talking about just that, the “birth control pill” which, in the last fifty years has modified our sexual behavior and, as a result, the lives of hundreds of millions of people, making it possible to dissociate between sexuality and reproduction. Right now at least 100 million women are using the birth control pill.

What is "Scienza+20"?

After 20 years there will be a re-edition of the World Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) in Rio de Janeiro from June 20 to June 22. Sustainability, environment and green economy will be discussed...and above all a new treaty will be discussed (The Future we want) of which a first draft is already circulating (download the document).

Europe and sustainability: towards Horizon 2020

"The future can be yours! Last chance!" The motto of Jeffrey Goines, the character in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film Twelve Monkeys directed by Terry Gilliam in 1995, has never been more relevant. Let's see why. In 1978, the French explorer and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau proposed the idea that the interests of people not yet born had to be protected, i.e. of those who are reading this article right now, by means of a Bill of Rights of future generations.

The cost of pollution

On March 2, in Paris, the European Aphekom project, coordinated by the French Institute for public health surveillance (InVS), presented the results of a three-year study on air pollution and its impact on health, conducted by 60 researchers in 25 cities across Europe. Sorry for the sceptics, but the data are once again worrying, with the important new information that health impact is now associated with a monetary impact.

Climate change in Italy: what do we really know?

How will climate change in Italy? What will be the consequences for the country? Despite criticism by "climate deniers", a hundred of Italian scientists working in various capacities on climate change - from atmospheric physics to economics, have tackled the issue. The result is a volume of 590 pages which is under all respects the equivalent of the IPCC report for Italy.

In Cancun modesty is prized

After being mistreated and ignored, the 16th Conference of Parties to the UN convention on Climate Change recently concluded in Cancun, seems to have been a success well above expectations. The credit goes especially to the organizers, and in particular to the diplomatic skills of the Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, who has created consensus among many countries, with the exception of Bolivia.