People are predominantly visual beings. We rely heavily on what we see to form our opinions and grasp the world that surrounds us. It is an important evolutionary tool, but it has been a double-edged sword. Hence we reach a particularly incendiary topic these days: climate change.
Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.
Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity – a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also serve as sentinels for emergent environmental risks, signaling the health of local ecosystems.
Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices may reduce available nutrients and pose threats to bee colonies.
To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.
Saving Our Beaches: Engineering Solutions for Tourists’ Impact
Everyone loves a beach vacation. In colder climates especially, more and more people are taking advantage of cheap airfares for a long weekend of sunbathing and swimming in the dead of winter. In fact, 12 of the top 15 destinations were in coastal countries.
In 1995, there were around 528 million international tourist arrivals. That number jumped to 1.138 billion in 2014, and emerging economies are experiencing faster tourism growth than advanced economies, making the increase in tourism an important part of many countries’ growth.
Local economies encourage increased tourism, as it helps to grow local wealth and jobs that pay well. Unfortunately, this relaxing trend is having some serious consequences on the environment that may outweigh the economic benefits.
Some of the downsides of increased tourism include resort development, boating, snorkeling, diving, and fishing, cruise ship presence, litter, coral reef damage, and even the creation of artificial beaches. These activities introduce toxins and other harmful substances, cause physical damage and sedimentation, and exploit local fish populations.
So what can be done to preserve the benefits of tourism for developing economies while balancing the need for environmental responsibility? Engineers have a few ideas. Eco-friendly roofing systems, designs that catch rainwater for later use, innovative wastewater management, and considering the landscape when constructing resorts and hotels can all help to reduce the impact tourists have on the local environment.
These innovative solutions are key for helping to ensure that tourists, locals, the local environment, and wildlife can all exist harmoniously now and in the future. Find out more about how serious the problems caused by coastal tourism have become and how engineers are working to solve them with this resource from Ohio University’s Master of Science in Civil Engineering Program.
Light pollution is on the rise, with more and more LEDs lighting our homes, offices and streets at night. In 2011, LEDs made up just 9% of the global lighting market in 2011 but it’s predicted that this will rise to 68% by 2020. This increase in LED lighting will not occur without consequence however, as LED lighting already causes more damage to the world around us than we realise.
Many species of wildlife depend on natural light to regulate their circadian rhythm, sleep patterns, mating habits and feeding. Our artificial lighting interferes with the way other species live, putting them at risk and causing many fatalities.
There’s no way of avoiding artificial lighting, since society is so dependent on it to function, but luckily there are various ways that we can reduce its negative impact. By spreading awareness of the issue, actions can be taken to protect wildlife from danger whilst we continue to enjoy all the benefits of modern lighting systems.
This infographic created by 4ever Deck shows the ways in which our artificial lighting solutions affect the wildlife around us and provide some potential solutions to the issue.
Summer is the best season to enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s also the time when you and your family are at the greatest risk of bites, stings, and the vector-borne disease that common summer pests can carry.
But did you know that there are steps you can take to make your backyard less attractive to these pests?
In the infographic below, you’ll know what to do to protect your family from pest threats this summer.