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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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Archaeological site.

Archaeological site reveals how Neolithic man adapted to climate change

New research shows how early farmers adapted to a well-documented climate shift 8,200 years ago. The results demonstrate the value of using lipid biomarkers to explore ancient societies’ responses to climate change.

Coachella Valley

Who owns the aquifer?

A Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights – and opportunities for better freshwater management.

Adriatic

Trawling ban did not hurt fishing communities

New research shows fishers who complied with a moratorium in the Adriatic Sea maintained catch levels by fishing in other areas. The findings help justify extending regional protection and provide insight for ocean management elsewhere.

Bighorn sheep

How would a border wall affect wildlife?

Federal plans to complete a continuous wall along the U.S.-Mexico boundary would threaten the existence of numerous plant and animal species. Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo look at the region’s unique natural ecosystems, and what they have to lose.

Parched Earth

Warming temperatures could increase suicides

By comparing historical temperature and suicide data, researchers found a strong correlation between warm weather and increased suicides.

Solar panels and wind turbines.

A new, cheaper way to store energy from wind and solar

A new type of flow battery that involves a liquid metal more than doubled the maximum voltage of conventional flow batteries and could lead to affordable storage of renewable power.

Strawberries

Strawberry fields forever? Baja turning to seawater to grow lucrative crop

In an arid region south of Tijuana, strawberries grown for export have become so valuable, farmers keep trying to grow more, and are allowed to use more groundwater than nature replenishes.

Fishing boat

Expanding social responsibility in fisheries

Egregious human rights abuses in the global fishing industry gained international attention two years ago. Where do we stand now? And what will it take to prioritize human wellbeing as much as environmental responsibility in sustainable seafood?

Nuclear cooling tower

The steep costs of nuclear waste in the U.S.

Expert Rodney C. Ewing discusses how failure to implement a permanent solution for nuclear waste storage and disposal is costing Americans billions of dollars per year. 

Mount Sinabung

Learning through sound

The audible world contains vast amounts of information about the world around us. Scholars from across Stanford are exploring this invisible landscape as a research tool and as a way of understanding each other.

Wind energy

Q&A: Getting to Net-Zero Emissions

Stanford researchers discuss what it will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, including technology development and political barriers to overcome.

traffic

Are driverless cars bad for the environment?

Four experts at the 2018 Silicon Valley Energy Summit debated whether autonomous vehicles will hurt the natural and human environment.

Seaside book

Summer reading: Illuminating our relationship with the planet

Faculty at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences recommend these 31 books for your summer reading. 

Lagos

Air pollution a major cause of infant deaths in sub-Saharan Africa

Satellite measurements of air quality across sub-Saharan Africa revealed small improvements in air quality could be one of the most effective interventions to curb infant mortality rates.

Port Arthur

Bracing for sea level rise to boost national security

Storm season is upon us, the federal flood insurance plan is broken and sea level rise continues unabated. Stanford climate and policy experts Alice Hill and Katharine Mach look at issues related to rising seas with an eye toward increasing resilience and security.

Yunnan Province

Overuse of fertilizers and pesticides in China linked to farm size

A new study finds chemicals are often used inefficiently on small farms in China. Land and migration policies may help explain why the country uses 30 percent of the world's fertilizers and pesticides on 9 percent of global cropland.

Charging vehicle

Can utilities afford electric vehicle commitments?

Energy policy expert Michael Wara comments on the decision to approve $768 million in transportation electrification projects and how it could affect utilities, the environment and California ratepayers.

Fruit bat in Kerala

Nipah: A little-known virus that could become the next global pandemic

An outbreak of Nipah in South India has renewed interest in the deadly virus. Stanford epidemiologist Stephen Luby explains risk factors, potential interventions and how land conversion connects to the emergence of this kind of infection.

city heatwave

Climate mitigation could yield trillions in economic benefits

Stanford scientists found that the global economy is likely to benefit from ambitious global warming limits agreed to in the United Nations Paris Agreement.

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