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Water and sunlight convert single-use plastic bags into dissolved compounds

Credit: Water and sunlight convert single-use plastic bags into dissolved compounds, scientists discovered. Wikimedia Commons

Additives used in manufacturing accelerate breakdown

Researchers supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation studied how components in plastic bags decompose during exposure to sunlight while in water. Their findings are published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Once plastic pollution gets into the environment, its fate is still largely unknown, especially in aquatic ecosystems. Some plastic items, such as polyethylene shopping bags, float in water, which exposes them directly to the sun's rays.

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Focal point for climate change is at the top of our world, and agenda

© Steffen M. Olsen, Danish Meteorological Institute, Denmark - Iceberg, Baffin Bay 2021

Improved climate modelling can predict fish stocks in the North Atlantic, as well as warming effects across the Northern hemisphere, for instance in Europe and North America.

Fragile and exposed to climate change, the Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet. As the frozen ground melts, carbon dioxide and methane trapped within it are released into the atmosphere, further contributing to global warming.

Michael Mann, the EU's Special Envoy for the Arctic, describes the current environmental situation in the Arctic as extremely serious. He warns: 'It's just getting worse and worse.'

The consequences are being felt elsewhere. Extreme events in Europe, such as the unusually heavy snowfall in Greece and Spain last winter, is thought to be linked to warming in the northernmost regions. 'The Arctic is the main suspect for larger changes in conditions in the northern hemisphere,' said Dr Steffen Olsen, a climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen.

Since the Arctic is the focal point for global climate change, being able to better forecast Arctic warming could help mitigate its impact, both in the Arctic and elsewhere.

The EU is preparing to adapt to the rapid changes that the Arctic is experiencing. One of the goals of the EU Missions, namely 'Adaptation to Climate Change', is to provide new strategies and solutions and empower communities to lead the societal transformation. The EU Mission 'Restore our ocean and waters by 2030' will deploy innovative solutions at basin-scale (sea basin and river basin) through Mission 'lighthouses' which will each lead on one of the Mission objectives. One of the lighthouse initiatives covering the Atlantic and Arctic sea basin, leads on the Mission objective to protect and restore marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

The new EU Arctic policy is also on the horizon to address new challenges and opportunities.

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Inspirational Thoughts

Credit:Gettyimages

Voltaire

"The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood."


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An interview with the network research artist Don Foresta

Credit: donforesta.net

Don Foresta's Workshop at the SGEM Florence Conference

This year's edition of the SGEM Florence Conference is proud to present you with the world-renowned media artist Don Foresta. Foresta will acquaint our audience with a workshop based on his work Multiple Worlds (Mondes Multiple). The book lays out his theories on the relation between art and science, art using new technologies, the role of the artist as researcher, and Foresta's conviction that we have been living a new renaissance for over 100 years with a profound transformation of how we understand and represent reality in both art and science. 

Here you can see more information about all the workshops during the 8th edition of the SGEM Florence Conference.

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The red planet's small size complicates its habitability

Credit: NASA

Mars' mass may explain its lack of water

U.S. National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have formed a hypothesis about the absence of liquid water on the surface of Mars. The team's findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that Mars doesn't have enough mass to retain large amounts of water.

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