Q&A: ‘Cities need to roll out carrots and sticks to solve the last-mile problem’

Researchers are looking at how to encourage 'modal shift' - moving people away from using private cars for short journeys and instead cycling or walking. Image credit - Febiyan/ Unsplash

How people and deliveries get to their final destination is currently making urban environments harder places to live, and cities need to solve this ‘last mile problem’ by using a combination of ‘carrot and stick’ measures, according to Karen Vancluysen, secretary general of Polis, a network of European cities and regions working on sustainable innovative … Read more

‘Most ice on Earth is very close to melting conditions’

Even if we change our emissions now, we are committed to a lot of ice melt, says Prof. Kääb. Image credit - Sharada Prasad CS, licensed under CC BY 2.0

We need to understand how glaciers are shrinking in order to better adapt to climate change impacts such as changes to water supply, landslides and avalanches, says Professor Andreas Kääb, a glacier expert from the University of Oslo in Norway.  Measuring ice melt and the unprecedented changes in our cryosphere – the frozen parts of … Read more

Changing climate is narrowing options for migrating birds

The volatility of seasons is affecting the breeding patterns of Brent geese, a migratory bird species. Image credit - Flickr/milo bostock, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Across an entire desert or ocean, migratory birds make some of the most extreme journeys found in nature, but there are still huge gaps in our understanding of how they manage to travel these vast distances and what a changing climate means for their migration patterns. ‘Some species of migrants might be affected by a … Read more

Scientists speed up the evolution of yeast to create tastier and healthier alcohol

Scientists are speeding up the natural selection process of yeasts to help develop beer and wine that is low in alcohol content. Image credit - U3144362, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Researchers across Europe have started to speed up the evolutionary process of yeast to develop new or better flavours for wine and beer. The objective is for beer and wine producers to better accommodate changing consumer tastes and trends, such as anti-GMO sentiments and demand for low-alcohol products. ‘All kinds of fermentation beverages start out … Read more

Public action and ‘fundamental social change’ needed to reverse biodiversity decline

Getting the general public to monitor local plants and animals could help paint a clearer picture of the global biodiversity crisis, but fundamental social change is needed if we are to reverse the loss of nature critical to our survival, say biodiversity experts. A million species are under threat of extinction, according to a global landmark … Read more

Mobile forests could help cities cope with climate change

Cities across Europe are trialling schemes such as roof gardens and ‘mobile forests’ to embed more nature into urban areas in an effort to protect their citizens from climate change events like heatwaves, floods and droughts. Cities are becoming harder places to live in as climate change brings higher temperatures, water scarcity and flooding that … Read more