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74 news posts in Sustainability


14 Nov 2023

New study highlights need to address risk of continued global warming after net zero

by Liad Hollender, Frontiers science writer Image: The UN Climate Panel’s latest best estimate is that global warming will end once we reach net zero CO2 emissions – but a study in Frontiers in Science warns significant warming could still occur. Researchers including those from Imperial College London and University of Exeter assess factors controlling global temperatures post ‘net zero’ and offer a pioneering framework for better estimating climate change risks. These risks must inform climate mitigation and adaptation policies to protect future generations.  From scorching heatwaves to torrential downpours and devastating storms, the disastrous effects of global warming are sweeping across the world. Being the predicted outcome of burning fossil fuels, our best and only plan to limit warming is to reduce CO2 emissions from human activities to ‘net zero’ – where the amount of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere is equal to the amount we remove from it. To keep within the 1.5°C limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement, this needs to happen as soon as possible.   Though the scientific community’s current best estimate from models is that global warming will stop at net zero, an article published in Frontiers in Science raises a red flag.  […]


19 Jul 2023

Uniting generations for a sustainable future: Insights from the 2023 Villars Symposium

Established in 2022, the Villars Institute is a non-profit foundation dedicated to accelerating the transition to net-zero emissions. It aims to create a healthier planet through intergenerational collaboration and systems leadership. Last month, a team of Frontiers staff led our first collaboration with the Villars Institute by taking part in its 2023 Villars Symposium, an event that fosters intergenerational collaboration and promotes transdisciplinary cooperation. Young minds embarking on their journey toward becoming lifelong systems leaders. The Symposium was created to unite the Villars Institute’s Knowledge Partners with a group of exceptional young minds who are embarking on their journey toward becoming lifelong systems leaders. The blog, Five traits to look for in a Systems Leader, explains more about what this concept is and represents. The Villars Symposium unites high school-aged youth and sustainability experts worldwide to address urgent global challenges. Participants, future systems leaders, explore intricate complex systems (ecological, economic, political, and social) while developing skills for driving systemic change. By engaging with professionals in sustainability and international affairs, they gain insights, forge connections, and align their passions with a sustainable future. Representatives from the Frontiers family of outreach and engagement initiatives led two sessions during the Symposium. “Mobilizing Science […]


20 Apr 2023

Restoring Asia’s roar: Our plan to see tigers flourish again in historic locations

By Dr Thomas Gray, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative Image: Dr Thomas Gray is a conservation biologist and Tiger Recovery Lead at the WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. His current research focuses on the active recovery of threatened Asian species and sustainable financing for landscape-scale conservation. In this newest guest editorial, he explains how habitats from which tigers have been lost could be restored and how this may help biodiversity and landscape restoration at large.  Tigers are Asia’s iconic predator and, perhaps, the most recognizable species on the planet. Tigers used to occur over vast areas of Asia: from the Black Sea of Turkey to the Korean Peninsula and south through the rainforests of south-east Asia to the islands of Java and Bali. However, as a result of centuries of persecution and habitat loss, tigers currently occur in only a tiny fraction of this historic range. More tigers, but difficult circumstances Since 2010, a ‘year of the Tiger’ under the Asian lunar calendar, there has been considerable global attention on tiger conservation. This attention appears to have reversed the decline in tiger numbers with the 2022 IUCN Red List Assessment estimating around 4,500 wild tigers remain in the world (an increase […]


08 Dec 2022

Flocking to fire: wildfires don’t deter Americans from moving to at-risk regions

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image/ Scientists investigated whether environmental hazards put people off moving to regions at risk and found that heatwaves and hurricanes deter newcomers, but wildfires don’t. The climate crisis has caused humans to move both within their countries of origin and across borders. Although climate migration is often treated as a phenomenon of the ‘global south’, a team of scientists led by Mahalia Clark at the University of Vermont (UVM) turned the spotlight on the US. The US has experienced numerous destructive weather events recently, which have killed and injured many people and done billions of dollars of damage. But the team found that despite the death toll, more people are moving to areas in the United States that are at serious risk of wildfires. “Our original motivation was the increasing number of headlines each year about record breaking heat waves, hurricanes, and wildfires,” said Clark, a researcher at UVM’s Gund Institute for Environment. “I had been studying natural amenities — features of the climate and environment that are attractive to movers — but I began to wonder if the threat of these hazards might have a deterring effect on migration.” Read original article […]


15 Sep 2022

Trash talk: article collections on where our waste ends up

What happens to our trash when we throw it away? How much actually gets recycled? We have gathered our top article collections on waste management. With collective views of over 1.7 million, researchers explored topics spanning from the behavioral analysis of using plastic bags and how to recycle building materials to technologies that filter out litter in the ocean and mapping where restaurant trash goes. Article collections: Food waste 10 articles | 143,000 views A systematic approach to measuring food loss because reducing food waste is imperative to mitigating the impacts of climate change worldwide and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on food security, hunger eradication and sustainable production and consumption Urban sanitation services 14 articles | 174,000 views Critically evaluating existing alternative approaches to urban sanitation, introducing new city-wide equitable sanitation concepts and solutions and providing policy guidance towards adequate, equitable and safely managed urban sanitation services Waste management 5 articles | 28,000 views Addressing the growing interest in sustainable food systems, including management practices to reduce wastage and the ecological footprint of the firms at the end of the food chain like retail, accommodation and the F&B sector Cleaning litter 18 articles | 51,000 views Developing and […]


20 Jul 2022

Heat wave: article collections on the global impact of rising temperatures

As the temperature rises this summer, we have gathered our top article collections on how heat effects us and the planet. With collective views of over 1 million, researchers were fired up by topics spanning from plant heat stress and weather extremes in the urban environment to marine heatwaves and human heat acclimation. Article collections: Wild fires 16 articles | 104,000 views Addressing our current understanding of wildland fires, with a specific focus on engineering approaches to mitigate the harmful effects of fires Human heat acclimation 13 articles | 95,000 views Recent advances in our understanding of the physiological mechanisms underlying the adaptive process in vulnerable populations, and whether heat acclimation is beneficial for all populations Marine heatwaves 23 articles | 285,000 views A comprehensive overview of current research on marine heatwaves from across the range of marine science disciplines, covering physical processes through ecological impacts Drought and water scarcity 19 articles | 76,000 views Highlighting critical gaps in our understanding of water scarcity and setting urgent priorities for research and action, providing an international platform for generating an integrated perspective on this complex and socially constructed environmental hazard Overheated animals 7 articles | 29,000 views Demonstrating that climate change […]


17 Jan 2022

Top 10 Research Topics from 2021

Find the answers to your biggest research questions from 2021. With collective views of over 3.7 million, researchers explored topics spanning from nutritional immunology and political misinformation to sustainable agriculture and the human-dog bond. Research Topics: 1. Infectious disease 29 articles | 1,643,000 views Uncovering the many ethical, legal, and social issues that have arisen during the pandemic 2. Nutritional immunology 29 articles | 768,000 views How specific foods and nutrients affect COVID-19 severity and outcomes 3. Music therapy 44 articles | 268,000 views Examining the ability of music to create and maintain social bonds during the pandemic 4. Political misinformation 11 articles | 219,000 views Understanding how to halt the spread of false news while increasing the circulation of information from credible sources during the pandemic 5. Plant science 15 articles | 198,000 views The enormous potential of plants to contribute effectively to fighting pandemics 6. Sustainable agriculture 49 articles | 168,000 views Demonstrating the potential of various microbes to enhance plant productivity and yield in cropping systems 7. Mental health 22 articles | 136,000 views Discovering insights from altered states of consciousness through psychedelic therapies 8. Aging brains 18 articles | 134,000 views Evaluating factors that predispose aging […]


31 May 2021

Beer byproduct mixed with manure proves an excellent organic pesticide

By Tayyibah Aziz, science writer A productive lettuce yield following the researchers’ new biodisinfestation method. Image: Maite Gandariasbeitia et al A new study published by the open access publisher Frontiers has demonstrated that beer bagasse and rapeseed cake can be used as effective biodisinfestation treatments to reduce populations of soil parasites and increase crop yields. Researchers demonstrated that using these organic treatments in soils significantly reduced root-knot nematodes and boosted beneficial soil populations, as well as reducing waste from the agricultural industry by incorporating organic by-products as a treatment instead of harmful chemical fumigants. The use of many chemical fumigants in agriculture have been demonstrated to be harmful to human health and the environment and therefore banned from use. Now, in an effort to reduce waste from the agricultural industry and reduce the amounts of harmful chemicals used, researchers have investigated using organic byproducts from beer production and farming as a potential method to disinfest soils, preserve healthy soil microorganisms and increase crop yields. In this study published to Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, researchers from the Neiker Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development in Spain investigated using agricultural by-products rapeseed cake and beer bagasse (spent beer grains), along […]


24 Feb 2021

Buckyballs on DNA for harvesting light

Supramolecular structure boosts efficiency of light harvesting for solar cells By Mischa Dijkstra, Frontiers science writer Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology show that DNA can serve as a scaffold for light-harvesting supramolecules, where fluorescent dyes work as electron donors and buckyballs as electron acceptors. The DNA’s regular 3D structure increases the light-to-electrons conversion efficiency by reducing so-called self-quenching. Such DNA-based supramolecules could be used in future organic solar cells. Image: Yes058 Montree Nanta/Shutterstock Organic molecules that capture photons and convert these into electricity have important applications for producing green energy. Light-harvesting complexes need two semiconductors, an electron donor and an acceptor. How well they work is measured by their quantum efficiency, the rate by which photons are converted into electron-hole pairs. Quantum efficiency is lower than optimal if there is “self-quenching”, where one molecule excited by an incoming photon donates some of its energy to an identical non-excited molecule, yielding two molecules at an intermediate energy state too low to produce an electron-hole pair. But if electron donors and acceptors are better spaced out, self-quenching is limited, so that quantum efficiency improves. In a new paper in Frontiers in Chemistry, researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) […]