mercoledì 28 ottobre 2015

Segnalazioni da Science for Environment Policy

Persuading the public to reduce bottled water consumption
Despite tap water being freely available and safe in many countries, bottled water is widely consumed around the world. This has negative effects on the environment, including water wastage and pollution. This study assessed beliefs about purchasing bottled water and tested three strategies to change behaviour, showing that combining persuasive information and social pressure can create the most positive intentions to reduce consumption.
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Mediterranean countries use more natural resources than their ecosystems provide
In the Mediterranean region the demand for natural resources and ecological services is two and half times greater than ecosystems capacity to provide them, recent research has found. To meet this demand, countries rely on imports, exposing themselves to price volatility and potential resource shortages. According to the authors, a 10% increase in global prices would particularly impact vulnerable countries such as Jordan, which would see its trade balance worsening by 2.4% of its gross domestic product.
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Can citizen science help to drive environmental policy? What is its added value? Our short interview with Tom Wakeford (Reader in Public Science and Citizen Engagement at Coventry University, UK) examines some of the issues and a possible future for citizen science in environmental policy in Europe.
SfEP's 2015 evaluation focusses on two resources which have been newly introduced to the service, namely short videos and infographics. Your feedback and comments are very important to us and we would greatly appreciate if you could spare approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete this online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GWYW88L.
Before you do so, please watch the video and explore the infographic: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/multimedia/citizen_science_en.htm Thank you for your time. 
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Quantifying the ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces
Urban green spaces provide important ecosystem services in cities, from recreation to the mitigation of noise and air pollution. This study quantified the ecosystem services (ES) provided by green spaces in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, using new methods to evaluate high-resolution land-cover data. The findings show that different types of green space provide different ES, highlighting the importance of careful design during city planning. The authors say their method to map ES supply will aid the design of healthy, climate-resilient cities.
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Green spaces linked to improved cognitive development in schoolchildren
Exposure of primary schoolchildren to outdoor green spaces is linked to an improvement in their cognitive development, finds a new study which is the first of its kind. The association may be partly explained by reductions in traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) near green areas.
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Biomonitoring study suggests exposure to environmental chemicals varies greatly across the EU
The framework for a Europe-wide biomonitoring programme has been established by a new study. The preliminary investigation of 17 European countries showed that monitored levels of toxic chemicals varied significantly between countries. Although the levels were mostly within recognised health based guidance values, in a few cases these values were exceeded. The researchers suggest that a fully-fledged European biomonitoring programme would help to develop policies to avert public health risks presented by environmental chemicals.
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Measuring emotional response and acceptance of wind turbines
Wind energy is likely to continue to play a leading role in reaching the EU's renewable energy targets. However, in some areas wind turbines face social opposition based in large part on the visual impact of wind turbines in the landscape. A new study outlines a novel methodology to measure emotional response to wind turbine visuals, which may assist wind farm planners in gauging public acceptance.
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Microalgae sticks to microplastics and transports them to the seabed
Fragments of microplastics are readily incorporated into groups of microscopic algae, altering the rate at which the plastics move through seawater, a recent study has found. In laboratory tests, polystyrene microbeads, which usually sink to the bottom of seawater at a rate of 4 mm a day, sank at a rate of several hundreds of metres a day when part of microalgae aggregates.
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