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Weekly Environmental Updates
Drought conditions in all six New England states are having a widespread effect on wildlife, says the National Drought Mitigation Center. Bears, snakes, ants, and other critters are venturing into human territory seeking nourishment as their usual food sources dry up. Toxic blooms in water are also thriving, encouraging the growth of harmful bacteria, affecting fish and waterfowl that feed on them.
A Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) is the oldest living tree known in Europe. Recently discovered by scientists, the 1,075 year-old tree lives on among a group of other millennial trees in a forest in the Pindos mountains of northern Greece. Scientists dated the tree by taking a core of wood, which reportedly had 1,075 annual rings.
Choosing the right houseplant may help counter the harmful effects of volatile organic compounds (VOCS) by removing the compounds from the air, according to new research. Dracaena, bromeliads, and spider plants showed the greatest overall VOC uptake of five plants tested. VOCS come from paints, furniture, cleaning supplies and other sources and can cause long-term health effects when inhaled.
The first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. is nearly up and running off the coast of Rhode Island. Once the 30 megawatt Deep Water Wind turbine farm on Block Island is connected to the grid, it will generate power to Block Island residents as well as parts of Rhode Island. Deep Water Wind's next project will be installing up to 200 turbines in federal waters 30 miles southeast of Montauk, N.Y.
Edible packaging made from milk proteins could be on store shelves within the next three years, say researchers. The environmentally-friendly casing will be used on foods such as cheese and single serve beverage pods. As a bonus, the substance can also be sprayed on cereal to keep it from getting soggy.
Hawaii is considering a ban on humans swimming with spinner dolphins as aggressive efforts to see and interact with the mammals may be causing them harm. Hawaiian spinner dolphins are nocturnal and need to rest during daylight hours. Instead, an increasing number of people on tour boats as well as snorkelers seeking "selfies" are relentlessly pursuing them, altering their behavior and possibly affecting their health.
Roman Hills