Earth Day 2010
April 19, 2010 -- This April 22, Earth Day will celebrate its 40th anniversary. A day of celebration and activism intended to raise awareness of environmental issues, Earth Day began in 1970 as the Environmental Teach-In, when approximately 20 million demonstrators organized to show support for a policy agenda focused on environmental concerns.
Since the 1970 Earth Day, many laws to protect the environment, including the Clean Air Act, were passed by Congress. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created to protect the environment and public health. Several National Academies reports from the past year examine how science and technology can be harnessed to protect the Earth and sustain the diversity and well-being of the life it supports. Many of them focused on identifying and mitigating human environmental impact.
Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth's Surface reveals research challenges and initiatives that could open the path to resolving environmental issues by helping predict how processes such as wind, ice, water, tectonics, and living organisms drive changes in the Earth's surface.
Air pollution does not recognize national borders, and the atmosphere connects distant regions of our planet. Global Sources of Local Pollution: An Assessment of Long-Range Transport of Key Air Pollutants to and from the United States focuses on four types of air pollutants and how they can be transported downwind across oceans and continents and have a negative impact on air quality far from their original sources.
Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences identifies important questions for the geographical science community to tackle today, ranging from overarching issues of environmental change and sustainability to specific areas in the field that are transforming. The areas identified in this report aim to provide a more complete understanding of where and how landscapes are changing to help society manage and adapt to the transformation of Earth's surface.
Government, businesses, and consumers may not realize the full impact of their choices when they think about energy. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use examines and, when possible, quantifiably estimates "hidden" costs of energy production and use -- such as the damage air pollution imposes on human health – that are not reflected in energy prices.
Scientific Value of Arctic Sea Ice Imagery Derived Products recommends that hundreds of images derived from classified data be made public and be released and disseminated to the scientific research community. These Arctic images show detailed melting and freezing processes and also provide information at scales, locations, and time periods that are important for studying effects of climate change on sea ice and habitat -- data that are not available elsewhere.Other Resources: