Currents

How do the Northeast’s tree-lined streets stack up against the rest of the globe? In the ongoing Treepedia project, researchers at MIT’s Senseable City Laboratory are using Google Street View to plot urban centers on a Green View Index (GVI), scoring the percent of a city covered by canopy. Why? In urban environments, trees affect…

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When it comes to wind energy, the New England coast is a perfect storm: The wind blows more strongly and steadily here than it does in most parts of the country; relatively shallow waters make for easier turbine installation; and thanks to coastal population density, there is significant energy demand. Even so, offshore wind power…

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With drought conditions contributing to wildfires throughout the eastern United States, officials are wondering whether 2016 marks the beginning of a scary new trend. More than 119,000 acres burned in eight southeastern states last year, and New Hampshire saw its largest wildfire since 1903. The Covered Bridge Fire in Albany, N.H., consumed 329 acres of…

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Amid the ever-expanding library of apps available for your smartphone are several designed to nudge you into greener habits. These include eco-conscious social media platforms, games designed to reduce your carbon footprint, and hyper-local information sources. Here are four free eco-apps (some with premium add-ons) worth checking out this spring: Changers CO2 Fit hosts group competitions. The…

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In July 2014, working as part of a team surveying plants above the Alpine Garden on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, I came across many interesting native flora: arctic lichens, elfin tundra clubmoss, even a rare white-flowered rhododendron. The most remarkable find, though, was a distinctly unpleasant surprise: a patch of non-native dandelions blooming high on the…

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Downhill skiing and snowboarding might seem like close relatives, but the latter owes just as big a debt to surfing. And snowboarding’s surfing roots are returning in a big way. Riders are using shorter boards, without bindings, to re-create the experience of riding the waves on backcountry powder. One manufacturer, Grassroots Powdersurfing, reports that U.S….

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More than six decades after transitioning to newer methods, Pennsylvania is returning to a tried-and-true approach toward combating forest fires: fire towers. The state plans to replace up to 25 existing towers and to build two new ones by summer 2017. Fire wardens and volunteers will staff the towers during the height of fire season,…

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A new technology is helping ski resorts adapt to climate change and perhaps even extend their seasons beyond the winter. So-called dry slopes, or synthetic surfaces that transform a hill or mountain into a skiable slope year-round, are already in use throughout Europe. Now they’re gaining popularity in America. Makers of dry slopes include Perma-snow,…

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The good news: climate-change initiatives are working. The even better news? A 10-year-old program is about to crank things up a notch. When the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was announced in 2006 and implemented by 10 states in 2009, it became the first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States. Under the program, the…

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Outdoor enthusiasts with mobility impairments can now explore off-road, going where standard wheelchairs cannot. Developed by the Boston-based company GRIT, the Freedom Chair is propelled by a patented drive train of gears and levers. Unlike a push-rim wheelchair, which can waste up to 90 percent of a rider’s effort, the Freedom Chair operates more like a bicycle: The rider pumps the levers to go…

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