Green Science

Green Science is the application of eco-friendly thinking to scientific disciplines. Learn about global warming, pollution and other impacts on nature and the planet, plus what we can do to combat them.

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Most folks are trying to green their driving to help out the environment (and their wallets). But what is NASCAR doing to clean up its image?

By Julia Layton

Plastic bags are generally unsustainable. Even if they are biodegradable, they take roughly 1,000 years to fully break down. Minnesota company NatureWorks has come up with a green plastic bag, but how eco-friendly is it?

By Josh Clark

You'll see biodynamic farmers consulting the moon and scattering the ashes of burned pests and weeds on their crops. Is this alternative type of farming alchemy or a sustainable extension of organic?

By Maria Trimarchi

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Irish pinot noir? Finish Shiraz? If the world's wine-producing regions start to seem a bit odd, it might be because of global warming's effect on terroir.

By Maria Trimarchi

Disturbing new reports suggest we've reached the point of no return when it comes to global warming. Are we past a tipping point, or can our efforts still make a difference?

By Julia Layton

When you're camping, it's nice to have a light in your tent. But lanterns can catch fire and flashlights eventually run out of batteries. Does the sun offer a better solution?

By Julia Layton

Earth Day 1970 didn't have the low-key feel of today's celebration. It was a time for protest -- some of it violent. How did Earth Day transform from a day of dissent to one of public service?

By Julia Layton

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It's easy to think that stuff equals happiness in a consumer-driven culture, or that GDP is everything. So how does the Happy Planet Index suggest otherwise?

By Maria Trimarchi

Earthquakes are "natural" disasters, right? Yes, but that doesn't mean the shifting plates that cause them can't be aggravated by human industry.

By Julia Layton

Everyone knows carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem. But what about carbon dioxide in the ocean? Is there a way to manipulate the world's seas so that they absorb more CO2?

By Maria Trimarchi

You've booked a safari with the environment in mind. There's just one problem: Trans-Atlantic flights aren't very green. Can green tags make your gas-guzzling trip carbon neutral?

By Julia Layton

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If environmental woes occasionally weigh down your conscience, join the crowd. But if shrinking ice caps and smog-filled skies have you losing sleep or sinking into depression, it might be time to see an eco-therapist.

By Stephanie Watson

If you've ever seen a kid frying ants with a magnifying glass, you know that the concentrated power of the sun can create great heat. But what if that heat were applied to something a bit more productive -- something like cooking food?

By Julia Layton

Liquid petroleum quickly taints everything it touches, covering soil, water and wildlife with its black, viscous stickiness. Cleanup takes a lot longer. Is the best way to mop up an oil spill glowing under a microbiologist's microscope?

By Maria Trimarchi

For many of Darfur's refugee women and girls, feeding the family means facing beatings and rape in the search for firewood. But there's a simple stove -- you could make one at home with foil and cardboard -- that can protect them.

By Julia Layton

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Everyone knows air pollution isn't good for your lungs, but it turns out that it's not doing your heart any favors either. Why do the particulates in the air we breathe interfere with our heart's basic job: to keep things ticking?

By Julia Layton

The Kyoto Protocol was supposed to help the developed world curb its carbon habit. But like any international treaty, it's been hard to get everyone on the same page. What has the world learned from Kyoto, and what's next?

The worst bad guys in the world of video games aren't virtual. Vampire power, overpackaging and energy-draining consoles make gaming unnecessarily bad for the environment. What are video game manufacturers doing to go green?

By Stephanie Watson

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust -- unless of course you've been embalmed, buried in a steel and hardwood coffin and interred in a concrete vault. For some people, the luxurious excess that accompanies traditional burial is no longer appealing.

By Maria Trimarchi

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It may look like a wasteland now, but a mysterious mound-building civilization once called Peru's arid valleys home. Did a shift in climate drive them to settle -- and eventually disappear?

By Julia Layton

Running seems like it would be a pretty green sport -- you aren't fueling up racecars or jumping out of planes, after all. But your average recreational runner leaves a large carbon footprint.

By Maria Trimarchi

Organic farming is all the rage, but conservation agriculture might be even better. Does tilling cropland really make that much difference to how things grow?

By Julia Layton

Alternative energy sources like hydrogen and electricity are promising, but they require totally different engines from what we use now. Can we increase the efficiency of regular old fossil fuel, or are we stuck with what we've got?

By Julia Layton

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China built the Three Gorges Dam to prevent floods and satisfy the nation's need for massive amounts of energy. What can go wrong when you dam one of the largest rivers in the world?

By Stephanie Watson

When Thomas Malthus warned that the human population would eventually outpace Earth's resources, he wasn't anticipating the green revolution. So why do rising food costs have some folks worried we're running at capacity?

By Julia Layton