Tag Archives: Environment

Your dog’s breed doesn’t determine its personality, study suggests | Science | AAAS

Work challenges popular idea that breeds have specific, reliable behaviors

28 Apr 20222:00 PM, By David Grimm

Tod the papillon, posing for a photo at the end of his lifeKen Morrill/Yenra Photography

When Kathleen Morrill was 12, she decided she needed a puppy. Not just any puppy—a pint-size papillon with a black button nose and bushy, perky ears. When her parents resisted, “I turned on the waterworks,” laughs Morrill, now a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester.

And so, the family ended up with its first dog—a 2-month-old pup she named Tod.

Tod was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), whose website describes his breed as “curious” and “friendly” with a “hardy constitution.” But the puppy was shy and scared of strangers, and he developed separation anxiety as he aged.

When Morrill’s family got another papillon, Rosie, a year later, she was entirely different: bold, outgoing, and adoring of all people. “Breed can be important,” Morrill says, “but it’s not the full picture of a dog’s behavior.”

From article…

Now, she has the science to back that up.

In a new study, Morrill and her colleagues show that almost none of the behaviors we associate with dog breeds—from lovable Labradors to pugnacious pit bulls—are hard-wired.

Aside from a few ancient traits, environment seems to play a much larger role than pedigree.

Source: Your dog’s breed doesn’t determine its personality, study suggests | Science | AAAS

The West is historically dry. Desalination could help. | Popular Science

A historic drought calls for new ideas.

By Thor Benson, Published Apr 3, 2022 5:00 PM

As climate change continues to plague the planet, droughts are likely to become worse in the future. Unsplash

California and the rest of the American West are facing the worst drought in over 1,200 years.

This drought is devastating the agricultural industry and creating conditions that lead to massive wildfires. According to the IPCC, climate change makes it likely that droughts will only continue to get worse.

To maintain an adequate supply of fresh water, the region needs to develop technological solutions to dwindling water levels.

Fortunately, a decent chunk of California is on the coast, meaning one solution to the drought is utilizing desalination technologies to turn seawater into fresh water. However, large desalination plants take years to become operational and are expensive to operate (nearly $3,000 per acre-foot of seawater).

Additionally, many places experiencing drought in the West, such as Arizona and New Mexico, are not on the coast. But desalination isn’t just an option for freshening up seawater, says Brent Haddad, a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“[Desalination] can improve not just brackish groundwater but also agricultural groundwater that’s been harmed by chemicals and even some industrial wastes,” Haddad says.

Source: The West is historically dry. Desalination could help. | Popular Science

Monarch butterflies are being wiped out. These combat veterans are trying to save them | NBC News

Guardian Grange looks to provide a safety net for veterans while teaching them about conservation, sustainability and regenerative agriculture.

Sept. 25, 2021, 3:00 AM PDT / Updated Sept. 25, 2021, 6:08 AM PDT
By Denise Chow

Sebastian Schell, Joe Sarapochillo, former Navy SEAL Mark Matzeldelaflor and Ole Schell on Ole’s ranch in Bolinas, Calif., on Sept. 12. Part of the 206-acre ranch is dedicated to a butterfly preserve.Clara Mokri for NBC News

When Mark Matzeldelaflor left the military more than a decade ago, he spent years searching for something that filled him with the same sense of purpose as being a Navy SEAL.

After serving a couple tours in Iraq, including as an elite sniper, he returned home and took up odd jobs — “just wandering and doing random stuff to make some money to pay the rent,” he said. Then, on a whim, he said that he tried “magic mushrooms” for the first time with a friend and that the psychedelic awakened in him a new resolve.

“I just reconnected to nature and my past, where I was like a kid in the woods,” Matzeldelaflor said. “And I realized there’s so much healing in being outside in nature, getting your hands in the dirt and doing good work.”

. . .

One of the organization’s first major initiatives is to help construct a preserve for Western monarch butterflies, a pollinator species that has been pushed to the brink of extinction in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change.

Source: Monarch butterflies are being wiped out. These combat veterans are trying to save them.

Monarch butterflies are beloved—and declining for this sad reason | Popular Science

Scientists trawled thousands of volunteer surveys over 25 years to understand what imperils the insects.

By Kate Baggaley | Updated Jul 21, 2021 12:00 PM

From article…

For the past three decades, monarch butterflies have been dwindling.

The iconic bugs face a number of threats in North America, from weed killers to climate change, but it hasn’t been clear which one has been the most damaging. A new study, however, indicates that the butterflies are especially sensitive to weather conditions in their spring and summer breeding grounds.

Scientists analyzed data from more than 18,000 monarch counts from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada spanning 25 years. They found that over the past 15 years, climate had an influence on the eastern monarch population that was nearly seven times that of other variables such as herbicide use.

Source: Monarch butterflies are beloved—and declining for this sad reason | Popular Science