Author Archive

Should Environmentalists Just Say No to Eating Meat?

Yale Environment 360: Like plastic bags, coal, and SUVs, beef has few friends in the environmental community. Most environmentalists would point to beef -- in particular, beef cattle that spend their final days in confined feedlots -- as being responsible for an array of ills -- the greenhouse gas emissions that the cattle generate; the groundwater pollution from their manure; the use of antibiotics in animal feed; the vast quantities of monoculture corn grown to feed the cattle; and the enormous amount of chemical fertilizers...

Green Crude: The Quest to Unlock Algae’s Energy Potential

Yale Environment 360: Tiny Columbus, New Mexico (population, 1,678) is hot, flat and uncrowded -- an ideal place to launch a new green revolution in agriculture. That, in essence, is what a well-funded startup company called Sapphire Energy wants to do: It is turning a 300-acre expanse of desert scrub into the world’s largest algae farm designed to produce crude oil. Sapphire began making oil there in May, and its goal is to produce about 100 barrels a day, or 1.5 million gallons a year, of oil, once construction of the...

Shrimp Farms’ Tainted Legacy Is Target of Certification Drive

Yale Environment 360: Carlos Perez, a well-to-do businessman, has been farming shrimp in Ecuador since 1979. He has seen the industry boom: Ecuador exported about $1.2 billion worth of shrimp last year, and its shrimp farmers employ about 102,000 people. He has also watched as shrimp farms have played a major role in the destruction of two-thirds of the country’s mangrove swamps -- rich ecosystems that serve as buffers against storms, store carbon, and support fish, birds, and small mammals. There’s got to be a better...