Jessi Gowan

Avoid City Pollution by Taking Side Streets

A new study has revealed that simply taking side streets while walking through a city can cut an individual’s exposure to air pollution by half – and providing pedestrians with specific guidelines to avoid high-traffic routes could significantly benefit public health. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is now the “world’s largest single environmental health risk” – especially since 80 percent of the global urban population residing in […]

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Are Chemicals Disrupting Our Hormones?

With health concerns like obesity, cancer, and diabetes on the rise and declining sperm counts and fertility rates, scientists are starting to take a hard look at the environmental factors that may be contributing to these issues. One theory is that otherwise “safe” chemicals are disrupting our endocrine systems – impacting normal functions regulated by hormones, including reproduction, metabolism, puberty, and more. While humans are exposed to hundreds of chemicals […]

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Scientists claim native Australian plants may offer a potential cure for Zika virus

A potential cure for the Zika virus has been discovered by Queensland researchers, using compounds sourced from a native Australian plant. Through a partnership between Australian-based biotech company Health Focus Products Australia (HFPA), researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have discovered the compound, found in a common Australian plant, halts the virus – preventing it from replicating without causing damage to mammalian host cells. While the plant itself is […]

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Making Modern-Day Night Soil

While the practice of collecting “night soil” from urban households in China to be repurposed as fertilizer in rural rice paddies might be somewhat outdated, the idea of using excrement to maintain soil fertility continues to be promoted by environmentalists around the world. Over the last fifteen years, humanure has become a more mainstream topic – with community groups throughout the United States urging their neighbours and municipal governments to […]

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SCC Urged to Reconsider Decision to Chop Down Fruit Trees in UFS

Western Australia Councilor Chris Cornish is urging the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) to consider reducing the red tape around verge gardens – after council workers cut down 18 fruit trees in the Urban Food Streets (UFS) precinct at Buderim. The gardens span 11 streets and provide sufficient produce to feed approximately 200 households – but the council has decided that if residents do not obtain free permits and take out […]

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Climate Change Threatens Global “Doomsday Vault”

The “Doomsday Vault” may be threatened by rising global temperatures, as the warm winter weather of 2016 caused melting and rainfall even in the Arctic. Tucked away in an abandoned coal mine on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the Global Seed Vault was created in 2008 to provide safe storage for millions of seed samples of the most vital food sources in the world – ensuring that even in the […]

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Unusual Units of Measurement

There are many units of measurement that aren’t included in any coherent system – and often don’t provide a well-known base unit to help users determine an exact quantity. Some of these, like using a prominent skyscraper as a comparison to estimate the size of similar structures, are commonly heard and don’t require specific measurements. However, there are some lesser-known and more unusual units of measurement – and a surprising […]

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Borsak-Ulem Theorem simplified

A mathematical theorem proves that at any given moment on the surface of the earth, there exists at least one pair of points that have the exact same pressure and temperature. Borsak-Ulem Theorem defines antipodal points as specific points on a sphere that are located in exactly opposite directions from the centre of the sphere, or situated on diametrical end points along the sphere’s diameter. “If you place a piece […]

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The Attraction of a Low-Bills Lifestyle

Rising electricity prices and more frequent power outages throughout Australia are leading more homeowners to embrace the low bills lifestyle – a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way of living that coincides perfectly with the ethics of permaculture. “A greener lifestyle is about having a less expensive lifestyle,” said Kylie Ahern, a Sydney resident who is currently blogging about her home’s transformation as she renovates with the goal of living off-grid. “I […]

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Finding a Sustainable Cup of Coffee

Australians consume about 16.3 million cups of coffee per day – but while this morning ritual offers plenty of health benefits and cultural significance, it comes at a price. Grown in some of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions, coffee farms can dramatically impact the environment. Tropical forests are often cleared to allow these farms to develop, but there are some cultivation practices producers can use to support impressive forest […]

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Making the Switch to a Zero Waste Lifestyle

Our landfills are overflowing with plastic, thanks to an annual production of more than 45 million tonnes of polyethylene around the world. It’s time to take some steps to reduce the amount of plastic we’re using – and many people have embraced a more environmentally friendly zero waste lifestyle. “The term zero waste seems incredibly daunting and pretty much improbable, but it’s easily attainable,” said Audrey Holmes, a San Diego […]

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Wax Worms May Provide a Solution to Plastic Pollution

Researchers are currently investigating the potential of using worms to help combat the excessive plastic pollution around the world, thanks to a chance discovery by scientist and amateur beekeeper Federica Bertocchini. After picking parasitic wax worms off the honeycombs of her beehives, Bertocchini placed them in a plastic bag – and when she returned, she found that the worms had munched holes through the plastic and escaped. Inspired, Bertocchini began […]

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