A merit badge for deforestation? Today we hear about two Girl Scouts who investigated the environmental impact of their famous cookies and decided it was time for a change. We’ll also fill you in on a promising new approach to environmental remediation that uses mushrooms to clean up contaminated soil. Plus, we interview Dr. Greg Goss, an aquatic toxicologist who has been looking into the levels of pharmaceuticals present in Canada’s drinking water.
Environmental Impact of Girl Scout Cookies
Tropical deforestation poses threats to global biodiversity and the livelihoods of forest peoples. It is also a driver of climate change, as the tropical forests store much more carbon than the land covers that typically replace them. In the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, logging is frequently followed by conversion to palm oil plantations. An industry moratorium on buying soybeans from deforested areas in Brazil that began in 2006 greatly diminished soy’s role as an agent of deforestation, and proved that reducing the demand for commodities that drive deforestation is effective at limiting further deforestation. The Union of Concerned Scientists hopes that a similar strategy will work with palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rebecca Rooney brings us the full story.
When most people think of natural garbage disposal, they think of composting. Composting works exceedingly well in the natural world; organic material can be quickly broken down and recycled back into the soil. But when waste is too toxic to be composted, the cleanup can be long and difficult. Today Brett Tegart takes a look at the development of a new solution to repairing environmental damage: using mushrooms to eliminate pollution.
Pharmaceuticals in Our Drinking Water
Most people take safe drinking water for granted, but just how clean is our municipal water? Modern water purification does a great job of removing viruses and bacteria, but now concerns are starting to surface about a different type of contamination. Increasingly, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are being found in water. Our correspondent Steve Andersen talks to water expert Dr. Greg Goss to learn more about the risks and what we can do to reduce them.