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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

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About Stanford Earth Matters magazine

Annapolis flood

What rising seas mean for local economies

High-tide flooding resulting from climate change is already disrupting the economy of Annapolis, Maryland. As sea levels rise, the impacts are expected to get worse for coastal communities.

Fork and knife

Q&A: Meat, health and the environment

A Stanford nutrition expert discusses the connections between meat consumption, carbon emissions, water needs and health.

Road lights

Why batteries with extra lithium ions fail

Why does stuffing more lithium into battery cathodes lead to their failure? New research illuminating this phenomenon could pave the way to electric cars that can drive longer distances between charges.

Stuff

Our 2.5-million-year obsession with stuff

When early humans first started using tools to make things, they kicked off a cycle of people depending on objects and the materials needed to make them – with ripple effects for the global climate today.

Solar panels

Envisioning an energy future with less fear, more cooperation

SunRun CEO Lynn Jurich argued at Stanford Energy Week that cooperation between utilities and solar providers will be key to building a cleaner, more nimble and cost-effective energy system.

Soap bubbles

A new algorithm acts like facial recognition software for materials

The search for the perfect material can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Researchers are leveraging machine learning to change this, potentially aiding the search for better materials for fuel cells, thermoelectric devices and electric car batteries.

Palm oil seeds

The double-edged sword of palm oil

Widespread cultivation of oil palm trees has been both an economic boon and an environmental disaster for tropical developing-world countries. New research points to a more sustainable path forward through engagement with small-scale producers.

Grasses

To save native grasslands, study invasive species

The order of arrival determines which invasive grasses predominate, according to a combination of experiments and computational modeling. The results could help in efforts to preserve the native plants that remain.

2018

Editor's picks: Top 10 stories of 2018

From revelations about the hidden messages in burbling lakes of lava to the staggering costs of runaway climate change, these 10 stories shed light on our planet and how we're changing it. They include our editor's picks and some our best-read stories for the year.

Refinery

Scientific basis for EPA's endangerment finding is stronger than ever

Stanford researchers along with scholars across the country find the evidence for greenhouse gases endangering human health and welfare is even more significant than previously thought.

West Valley Demonstration Project

Q&A: What should we do with nuclear waste?

Nuclear security expert Rod Ewing discusses new recommendations for solving the U.S. nuclear waste problem, why conventional risk assessments don’t go far enough and what makes this challenge more difficult than putting a man on the moon.

Delhi smog

Living with air pollution

Polluted air is the norm for many people around the world. Globally, long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution is responsible for millions of deaths.

Capitol Building

What do the midterm results mean for environmental policy?

The recent midterm elections could have far-reaching implications for the direction of federal- and state-level environment and energy policy. Stanford experts discuss ways forward, lessons learned and more.

San Francisco

How will San Francisco's skyscrapers fare after the next Big One?

Stanford civil engineers are working with the city to assess high-rise safety and mitigate any disruption, downtime or lost economic activity should downtown buildings be damaged. 

Sonoran Desert

A path to affordable, effective conservation

A new study supports the long-debated idea that all species – even highly mobile animals – are clustered together in geographically unique areas, and opens a path to better protection of little-known species.

Caterpillar fungus

Climate change, overharvesting may doom a pricey parasite

Stanford researchers show how warmer winters and booming demand for one of the world’s most expensive medicinal species may hurt ecosystems and communities in the Himalayas.

Grevy's zebra

Home on the range: Integrating wildlife and livestock

A study of more than 800,000 acres of privately owned land in Kenya suggests that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals – to the benefit of all.

broken glass

The impact of climate change on human behavior

Obscured behind better-known impacts of climate change lies the possibility of more wars, higher crime rates and greater infant mortality.

Traffic

Can digital incentives help alleviate traffic?

Researchers are reducing traffic congestion and commute times using networks that gently nudge people toward better travel habits.​

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