Mining sewage for fertilisers and energy to prevent water shortages

Image Credit - Danilo Pinzon / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Transforming the dirty water we flush down the drain into new products, such as clean energy and fertilisers, can help prevent reservoirs from running dry and change the way this valuable resource is viewed. Currently, water use risks leaving half the world facing severe scarcity by 2030 as demand outstrips supply. The linear way our societies … Read more

In a picture: How this robotic tendril mimics climbing plants – Dr Barbara Mazzolai

Image credit - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

Plants move at a much slower rate than what we can see. They don’t have muscles so they’ve figured out different ways to move. One way is through osmosis, which shifts water in their stems to change their stiffness. What you see in the video is a robot actually using osmosis. This is very important … Read more

Elephant genes suppress tumours. Could studying this help us prevent cancer?

Image credit - Virpi Lummaa

The genetics and ageing rate of elephants could hold clues to helping us find better ways to fight cancer and lead healthier, longer lives. In 2015, 1.3 million people died from cancer in the EU, more than one quarter of the total number of deaths across the 28 nations. Despite cancer treatment improving in recent years, the … Read more

Drones and satellite imaging to make forest protection pay

Image credit - lubasi, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every year 7 million hectares of forest are cut down, chipping away at the 485 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in trees around the world, but low-cost drones and new satellite imaging could soon protect these carbon stocks and help developing countries get paid for protecting their trees. ‘If you can measure the biomass you can … Read more

Governments at COP24 should focus on building a global electricity grid – Prof. Damien Ernst

Image credit - Kenueone, licensed under CC0 1.0

Governments at the COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, which ends on 14 December, should tackle fossil-fuel reliance by building a global energy grid that connects renewable energy from all around the world – and the best place to start is with a giant wind farm in Greenland, says Professor Damien Ernst, an energy scientist from … Read more

The Arctic faces substantial changes even if we meet climate targets – Marianne Kroglun

Image credit - Christine Zenino

Melting sea ice, plastic waste, biodiversity loss – the Arctic is facing unprecedented environmental pressure and will continue to change until 2050 even if we meet targets to limit global warming, according to Marianne Kroglund from the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum addressing the challenges faced by Arctic governments and indigenous peoples. Sea ice in … Read more