PSU Logo

In the Media

Centre Daily Times
Alex Curtze spent his semester with a few thousand edible critters. They came prepackaged in a crunchy exterior. This year, Curtze, a Penn State senior studying environmental resource management, became a cricket farmer. As part of an internship with the Penn State Student Farm, he studied how to maximize their growth because crickets, he believes, could provide a cheaper way to feed the world. “Meat production, for example, requires a lot of resources, especially in feeding the livestock,” he said. “Crickets could be a more sustainable food source.”
Christian Science Monitor
Zack Colman
John Elwell has a pine needle stuck just below his left eye, but he doesn’t seem to mind. In this drought year that killed 80 percent of the plantings at his Christmas tree farm, he’ll take green wherever he can find it. The real damage may not be felt for years. The trees people cut down at his farm already are between 10 and 15 years old. That means it’s a decade from now when Elwell estimates he might have a supply gap from this year’s drought, costing him about $50,000, on top of the $2,000-worth of seeds he lost this year. He opted not to buy pre-cut trees like his competitors to stay in business longer this year. “They’re experiencing climate change and air pollution and insects and pests and land use change,” says Erica Smithwick, an ecologist and the director of the Center for Landscape Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University. “It does appear that climate change could be pushing some of these trees over the edge.”
The Daily Collegian
Antonia Jaramillo
With an increase in the ocean’s temperature due to climate change, coral reefs have become increasingly endangered leading scientists to try and figure out solutions which will help save these species. A team of scientists, led by Penn State researchers, conducted a study to sequence genomes of three different species of coral in the genus Orbicella to help collect data to model the coral population over the past several million years.
Oscar Lopez
Over the past five years, as Tulum has become increasingly popular and property prices have soared, environmentalists and residents like Caro have been battling business moguls and powerful politicians who are colluding to develop the land as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the city’s infrastructure is floundering, with raw sewage spilling into one of the largest underground river systems in the world. The damage may soon get much worse—a massive new real estate project with a murky past could see Tulum’s population explode tenfold in less than 10 years. As Olmo Torres-Talamante, a local biologist, tells Newsweek, “This is the dark side of paradise.” Yet the water still flows into the ocean eventually, where the effect of this contamination is more obvious. “All of us who’ve worked in this field have borne witness to [reefs’] destruction,” says Roberto Iglesias-Prieto, a professor of biology at Penn State University who’s been studying the reefs off the coast of Mexico for 20 years. Over the phone, he explained that wastewater, even when treated for solid contaminants, increases the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in the ocean, which produces algae. The algae competes with the corals for nutrients and causes disease and bleaching in the reef. “When combined with climate change,” he says, “the result is disastrous.”
Centre Daily Times
Lori Falce
The federal government is putting a big chunk of funding into an agriculture project at Penn State. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture unveiled a $6.7 million catalog of grants going to 18 different projects, most at universities around the country. The projects all address how the agro-ecosystem affects food production. Penn State picked up a $471,324 grant for a project titled “Polycultures: Using Biodiversity to Increase Crop Productivity and Resiliency While Reducing the Agrochemical Footprint for Systems.”
Centre Daily Times
Leon Valsechi
The documentary “After Coal: What Happens When Fossil Fuels Run Out?” was screened Tuesday night at The State Theatre, followed by a panel discussion on how coal communities can deal with loosing their main economic driver. The hourlong film, directed by Tom Hansell, offers a look into how towns in South Wales and Appalachia are dealing with the cultural and economic effects of transitioning away from the dwindling coal industry.
Centre Daily Times
Roger Van Scyoc
There’s been a wealth of research covering the effects of another creeping problem, a planet slowly retching of a silent fever. Climate change, President Barack Obama has said, is the most pressing problem for future generations both at home and abroad. His Clean Power Plan, announced last summer, has been his signature effort in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in beginning to make good on the promises of last year’s Paris climate accord. It is one of the key components of our own mitigation strategy here in the U.S., and diplomatically, it’s really what allowed us to establish a historical agreement with China two years ago,” said Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State.
Patty Satalia
Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the urgency of acting on human-induced climate change. Why then haven't we done more as a nation to address the problem? Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann says politicians are doing the bidding of powerful fossil fuel interests while ignoring the long-term good of the people they’re supposed to represent.
In August of 2015, a large iceberg broke off from the floating section of Antarctica’s massive Pine Island Glacier. While such an event is part of the natural life cycle of glaciers, this one was precipitated by an unusual rift in the middle of the ice that could point to a new mechanism for the collapse of this and potentially other glaciers, accelerating their contributions to global sea level rise. The study findings, detailed in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, are only one data point, Ken Mankoff, a Penn State glaciologist who wasn’t involved in the research, said, but “it highlights, in some ways, how little we know about the system.”
Chelsea Skojec and Michael Sainato
Wildfires at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee have forced thousands to evacuate the area. More than 15,000 acres in the park and neighboring Gatlinburg, Tennessee, have been scorched by the historically unprecedented fire. Extremely dry conditions due to drought, and high-gust winds contributed to the large scale of the wildfire. Several hundred buildings in the area have been destroyed, with several injuries reported, including at least four deaths so far. “We are seeing the answer to this writ large in the American west: drier, longer, hotter summers, combined with warmer winters (which allow infestations like pine bark beetle to invade and weaken trees) have already led to a threefold increase in the extent of wildfire in the American west over the past few decades,” said Dr. Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, in an interview with the Observer. Mann recently appeared in Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on climate change. “We can expect far worse in the future if we do not act to reduce carbon emissions.”
The Guardian
Alan Yuhas
Climate scientists have denounced the House committee on science, space and technology after the Republican-held panel promoted a misleading story expressing skepticism that the earth is dangerously warming. On Thursday afternoon, the committee tweeted a Breitbart article alleging: “Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists”. The story linked to a British tabloid, the Daily Mail, which claimed that global land temperatures were plummeting, and that humans were not responsible for years of steadily increasing heat. Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, noted that 2016 would soon be the hottest year on record, “by a substantial margin” over 2015, which took the record from 2014. “Three consecutive record-breaking warm years, something we’ve never seen before, and a reminder of the profound and deleterious impact that our profligate burning of fossil fuels is having on the planet,” he told the Guardian.
Nature World News
Even if President-elect Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax, it is actually the opposite. The effects of climate change are felt globally and apparently, it happens to Mars, too. Reports say that gas-fueled climate activities and greenhouse gasses scarred even the red planet. A new study from Penn State University is looking into the possibility of how gas-fuelled climate changes that resulted in the accumulation of greenhouse gasses could be the cause of some formative changes on the surface of Mars. The study led by planetary scientists suggest that carbon dioxide and hydrogen trapped in the atmosphere could have scarred the Martian surface.
Chuck Gill
Consumers who want to calculate and reduce their use of products containing chemicals that can contaminate water supplies now have a tool to assist them, thanks to a Penn State researcher and her students. Heather Gall, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, led the creation of an emerging contaminants footprint calculator, which is a downloadable spreadsheet consumers can use to document the types of products they have in their homes and calculate the potential water-quality impacts of those chemicals.
The Luminary
Barbara Barrett
A planning event was held in Muncy to make it better, to find ways to bring back its economic status and start to make plans to redevelop the corner of Main and Water Streets which includes the old Opera House. Working in a partnership with other organizations and state agencies, the goal is to secure state and federal funds for restructuring and preservation. Lycoming County is marked as one of the state's Keystone Innovation Zones and eligible for funding for land use and conservation planning. Much of the academic research and development was done by architectural engineering students at Penn State University who are in their fifth year of study. Agency representatives, professors and students took a tour of downtown Muncy in June 2016. They also met with the Muncy Historical Society to discuss flood mitigation and Muncy's historical aspects of being built near sources of water. It was suggested that older homes could be more resilient by elevating them and members encouraged them to look at ways to mitigate flood damage to over 40 percent of homes in the Muncy borough. The Penn State students designed a 3D model using the old Opera House as a venue after coming up with 8 different designs. It is a modern urban design with green space and community gardens.
More than 140 Penn State students will showcase projects dealing with local sustainability topics during the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the State College Municipal Building. The students partnered with local government and community organizations during the fall semester to research and propose sustainable solutions addressing needs of the surrounding area.
The Daily Collegian
Antonia Jaramillo
Author, storyteller and former journalist Seamus McGraw expressed the importance of listening to people with different views yesterday in Foster Auditorium in Pattee Library. Hosted by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the event was titled, “Conversation in the Age of Climate Change with Seamus McGraw.”
The Daily Collegian
Kara Fesolovich
Penn State and the entire state of Pennsylvania holds deep roots that lead back to coal. Some regions of the state have even been coined coal country. This was reiterated by member of the Penn State Sustainability Institute, Peter Buckland, who introduced the documentary showing of “After Coal” at the State Theatre with a brief history of what coal means to Pennsylvania.
Lindsey Mather
Before you go Christmas tree shopping, check out these five popular varieties that stand out from the crowd. No matter which type you end up with, make sure it’s fresh when you’re at the tree lot. A good test: Feel a branch to see if any needles fall off, a sign of dryness. And once you bring it home, be sure to follow our tips for keeping your tree healthy all season long. For a Long-Lasting Look . . .Fraser firs hold needles well and stay fresh longer than most other Christmas tree species—you can keep one on display for up to six weeks, says Ricky Bates, professor of horticulture at Penn State University. Plus, the blue-green needles have a nice scent.
The Washington Post
Chris Mooney
Science likes to surprise us. That’s the extraordinary, mind-opening thing about it. It’s possible that is now happening with one of the most stunning stories yet in the climate change saga — the finding that the enormous glaciers of West Antarctica appear to be retreating in an “unstoppable” way. It’s a process which, if it continues, could ultimately turn the West Antarctic ice sheet into an area of wide open ocean and raise global sea levels by 10 feet. However, Richard Alley, a noted glaciologist at Penn State University, had a different interpretation. He suggested the possibility that what happened in the 1940s may have been the last in a long chain of El Nino and La Nina-linked wobbles back and forth for Pine Island, before more decisive human influences came in and destabilized it for good.
Farm and Dairy
When Kim Steiner created an ash plantation on the edge of Penn State’s University Park campus in 1978, few Americans thought about “climate change,” no one had heard of the emerald ash borer, and the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series, swinging primarily bats made from ash. For ash trees, those surely were the good old days.