How The Twin Cities Are Battling An Old Sewer Villain

  Originally published in Next City, March 12, 2015 In the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the local wastewater utility is spending $100 million a year — and plans to do so for the next 10 to 20 years — to replace 600 miles of aging sewer pipes. In one neighborhood a sinkhole that opened last […]

Astronauts Walk on “Mars,” Start Experiments

Since June 2010 six men—three Russians, two Europeans, and one Chinese—have been living in isolation in a 19,423-cubic-foot (550-cubic-meter) “spaceship” outside Moscow, doing maintenance work, conducting experiments, and trying to stave off boredom by playing Rock Band and reading the complete works of Gabriel García Márquez.

Bumblebees Taking a Nosedive in North America

Within the past 20 years abundances of the bee species Bombus occidentalis, B. affinis, B. pensylvanicus, and B. terricola have plummeted by up to 96 percent.

The finding is based on a new analysis of more than 73,000 museum collections of bumblebees, which showed where bees had been found over the last century, as well as collections of wild bees across the United States. The study looked at 8 of the 50 known bumblebee species in North America.

Urban Foragers Cropping Up in U.S.

In Sacramento, they pick figs, kumquats, and plums from public trees. In New York, they harvest purslane–an edible flower–from the cracks in the sidewalk. Down south, it’s fiddlehead ferns, and just about everywhere, people are picking black walnuts, wild mushrooms, and dandelion greens.

Urban foraging–gathering fruit, vegetables, and other useful things from parks, lawns, and sidewalks–isn’t a new thing. But as more urbanites become aware of the free bounty surrounding them, new issues are–pardon the pun–cropping up. When a public park’s berry patch is raided, whose responsibility is it to make sure there are some left for everyone to enjoy? What about pesticides?

Mobile Apps Help Find Sustainable Seafood

Not too long ago, if you wanted to know what type of seafood was best for the environment, your tools didn’t get any more high-tech than a wallet card or a fridge magnet. But the fridge magnet doesn’t help much when you’re at the grocery store, and wallet cards are easy to leave behind (just […]

Compost Cab Helps City Dwellers Turn Garbage to Soil

from National Geographic’s Green Guide If you live in a city, you might have a window box or a pot of tomatoes on your balcony. You might even be lucky enough to have a small backyard garden. But do you compost? Probably not: composting in a small space is tough, not to mention smelly. You […]

3 Future Oil-Spill Fighters: Sponges, Superbugs, and Herders

Amid efforts to cap the seafloor leak, cleanup workers have been using boat-based skimmers to pick up the oil, booms to gather the slick for burning, and chemical dispersants to break the crude into smaller droplets—all parts of the oil-fighting toolkit for decades. Soon, though, tech of the future could be cleaning up spills like this one.