Tag Archives: urban areas

Green spaces deliver lasting mental health benefits

Green space in towns and cities could lead to significant and sustained improvements in mental health, finds a new study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

Analysing data that followed people over a five year period, the research has found that moving to a greener area not only improves people’s mental health, but that the effect continues long after they have moved.

The findings add to evidence that suggests increasing green spaces in cities – such as parks and gardens – could deliver substantial benefits to public health. (more…)

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Walking the Walk: What Sharks, Honeybees and Humans Have in Common

A research team led by UA anthropologist David Raichlen has found that the Hadza tribe’s movements while foraging can be described by a mathematical pattern called a Lévy walk – a pattern that also is found in the movements of many other animals.

A mathematical pattern of movement called a Lévy walk describes the foraging behavior of animals from sharks to honey bees, and now for the first time has been shown to describe human hunter-gatherer movement as well. The study, led by University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen, was published on December 23, 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Lévy walk pattern appears to be ubiquitous in animals, similar to the golden ratio, phi, a mathematical ratio that has been found to describe proportions in plants and animals throughout nature. (more…)

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Snapping Turtles Finding Refuge in Urban Areas While Habitats are Being Polluted or Developed, MU Researcher Finds

Stopping pollution from flowing into waterways could restore natural habitats

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In the Midwest, people have a fear of encountering snapping turtles while swimming in local ponds, lakes and rivers. Now in a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has found that snapping turtles are surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. One solution is for people to stop using so many chemicals that are eventually dumped into the waterways, the scientist said.

“Snapping turtles are animals that can live in almost any aquatic habitat as long as their basic needs for survival are met,” said Bill Peterman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU. “Unfortunately, suitable aquatic habitats for turtles are being degraded by pollution or completely lost due to development. We found that snapping turtles can persist in urbanized areas, despite the potential for more interaction with humans.” (more…)

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Grocery delivery service is greener than driving to the store

At the end of a long day, it can be more convenient to order your groceries online while sitting on the living room couch instead of making a late-night run to the store. New research shows it’s also much more environmentally friendly to leave the car parked and opt for groceries delivered to your doorstep.

University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions. (more…)

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China and the Internet

Internet bringing change to Chinese society, China Forum speaker says

The Internet is affecting every facet of Chinese life and shaping public opinion, according to Sanjiu Yan, the guest speaker at the inaugural China Forum, held Friday, Oct. 26, at the University of Delaware.

Yan, a former journalist who is now the dean of the College of Communication at East China Normal University in Shanghai, presented the first talk in the China Forum, a new monthly lecture series hosted by the Confucius Institute at UD. (more…)

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Raising Science, Nature Awareness through Essay Writing

UA Professor Alison Hawthorne Deming is a highly regarded poet and essayist who, at most every turn, works to translate matters of science and nature into poetry and prose.

Consider your tactile and sensory reality.

For some, the sound of birds stirring awake with the dawn of day, the plop fish make when hitting water, the strong scent of sagebrush and moist pine or the feel of soft soil underfoot are all foreign.

Given the tremendous rate of scientific and technological advancements at a time when people are increasing moving to urban areas, the bond between humans and the natural world seems, at times – and is, indeed, for some – strained.

But the association is not foregone. (more…)

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Scientists: Big City Life May Alter Green Attitudes

*Study of Chinese citizens says jobs more important than salary when it comes to pro-environmental behavior*

People with good jobs found in large cities are more likely to engage in pro-environmental activities. So says a new study of China’s environmental behavior published this week in the British journal Environmental Conservation.

For the first time, scientists weighed employment and leadership when considering how people act regarding their natural surroundings. They found the status and political power of companies in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin strongly influence the conservation practices of their employees. (more…)

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Study Improves Accuracy of Models for Predicting Ozone Levels in Urban Areas

*Current computer models may underestimate levels of ground-level ozone*

A team of scientists has, for the first time, completely characterized an important chemical reaction that is critical to the formation of ground-level ozone in urban areas. The team’s results indicate that computer models may be underestimating ozone levels in urban areas during episodes of poor air quality (smoggy days) by as much as five to 10 percent.

Ground level ozone poses significant health hazards to people, animals and plants; is the primary ingredient of smog; and gives polluted air its characteristic odor. It is known that even small increases in ozone concentrations can lead to increases in death from respiratory problems. Because of the health hazards caused by ozone exposure, the research team’s results may have regulatory implications. (more…)

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