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Science

Prof. Tanja Bosak speaks with Science reporter Eric Hand about how scientists plan to study rock samples from Mars for clues as to whether the planet once had a magnetic field and for signs of ancient life, such as the tough lipid molecules that can form cell walls. “You hope for an outline of a cell,” she says. “You will never find peptides and proteins, but lipids can persist.”

Forbes

 Scientists at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found that while albatross couples typically mate for life, shy wandering albatross males are more likely to be divorced, reports Forbes. “This link between personality and divorce could help scientists predict the resilience of an albatross population over time."

WBUR

The Emerald Tutu, a climate resiliency project in Boston led by Gabriel Cira ’08, is developing a system of floating wetlands designed to reduce coastal flooding by knocking down waves, reports Hannah Chanatry for WBUR. The Emerald Tutu was the winning project at the 2018 MIT Climate Changed Ideas competition. “Fundamentally, it’s like a giant sponge that fits around urban coastlines like we have here in Boston,” said Cira. “It buffers those coastlines from the intense effects of coastal storms.”

The Boston Globe

Gradiant, an MIT startup founded by Anurag Bajpayee PhD ’12, S.M. ‘08 and Prakash Govindan PhD ’12, has developed an energy efficient system that purifies water by mimicking natural rainfall cycles, reports Aaron Pressman for The Boston Globe. “Nature has the advantage of having all the surface area of the oceans available freely and a free source of energy from the sun,” Govindan said. “We have to engineer this into a compact, highly efficient, and energy-efficient industrial device.”

Salon

Researchers at MIT have developed a silk-based substitute that could be used to replace microplastics, reports Matthew Rozsa for Salon. Prof. Benedetto Marelli and postodoctoral associate Muchun Liu explain that they have demonstrated that “silk protein can be used as a technological material in agricultural products and cosmetics – it can protect and control the release of active ingredients, and it can be biodegraded.”

Power Magazine

Infinite Cooling, an MIT startup, is developing a new system that can capture water from cooling tower plumes and could significantly reduce water consumption in evaporative cooling tower systems, reports Sonal Patel for Power Magazine. “The technology that is developed could lead to significant water savings and improve water quality with minimal energy cost,” explained members of Prof. Kripa Varanasi’s lab.

EOS

A study conducted by Prof. Susan Solomon and her colleagues has found that unlike CFCs, smoke destroys the ozone in a more roundabout way, creating concerns due to the impact of the Australian bushfires of 2019-2020, reports Krystal Vasquez for EOS. “Because of the sheer scale of the event [the Australian bushfires] massive amounts of smoke penetrated the normally pristine upper stratosphere,” writes Vasquez.

Forbes

Cary Lin MBA ’16 co-founded Common Heir, a clean and plastic-free beauty company dedicated to creating “a high-impact line of skincare that had a low impact on the environment,” reports Geri Stengel for Forbes.

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Susan Solomon speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Nidhi Subbaraman about her research and another recent study that provides evidence wildfire smoke poses a threat to the ozone layer. “It’s fair to say that, at least for a few months, these wildfires canceled out the last decade of all the efforts that we put in over the Montreal Protocol,” says Solomon. “I think there’s every reason to believe this is going to happen more often, and it’s going to act to slow down the recovery of the ozone depletion.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor David Bressan writes that a new study by MIT researchers proposes that oxygen began accumulating in early Earth’s atmosphere due to interactions between marine microbes and minerals in ocean sediments. The researchers hypothesize that “these interactions helped prevent oxygen from being consumed, setting off a self-amplifying process where more and more oxygen was made available to accumulate in the atmosphere,” writes Bressan.

The Hill

Smoke from Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020 appears to have contributed to the breakdown of the ozone layer, according to a new study by MIT scientists, reports Sharon Udasin for The Hill. “The new study establishes the first direct link between wildfire smoke and ozone depletion,” writes Udasin. 

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Miriam Fauzia writes that a new study by MIT scientists finds that smoke particles from wildfires are slowing the recovery of the ozone layer.

BBC News

BBC News correspondent Helen Briggs writes that MIT scientists have found that increasing wildfires may slow the recovery of the ozone layer. "All the hard work that the world went to to reduce chlorofluorocarbons (ozone-depleting chemicals once used in aerosol sprays) is not paying off as well in the areas that experience extreme wildfires," explains Prof. Susan Solomon. "The best hope would be that we reduce global warming gases also and stop increasing the wildfires, but that's obviously more difficult."

The Guardian

A new study by MIT scientists finds that smoke emitted into the atmosphere from Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020 resulted in depletion of the ozone layer, reports Donna Lu for The Guardian. The findings suggest “rising fire intensity and frequency due to the climate crisis may slow the recovery of the ozone layer.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Carolina Milanesi spotlights Dr. Ana Pinheiro Privette ’98, the global lead for the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI), who collaborates with environmental nonprofits, private companies and government agencies to give researchers access to ASDI’s data catalog information. “I’m not sure if I am saving the world, but I’m at least helping people have more resources to do it,” says Pinheiro Privette.