what are smart cities? how can smart cities improve the lives of citizens?

The advent of modern information and communication technology (ICT) continues to offer a myriad of new opportunities for advancing and improving our lives. As populations migrate to urban spaces, it becomes only logical to utilize the data produced by ICT to catalyze such improvements. Smart cities are the embodiment of such efforts as they utilize …

what is a life cycle assessment? what the different parts of a life cycle assessment?

Our planet and all of the resources she houses are part of a closed system, meaning that while energy and resources can be changed by consumption or conservation, they cannot be created or destroyed. Accordingly, every process and act of consumption has some effect on our resources and the environment in which we live.  Understanding …

the benefits of urban agriculture

Agriculture has been a part of urban spaces since man began establishing towns and cities. However, as populations grew, agriculture needed to be outsourced to rural or urban spaces to meet the growing demand of urban citizens. While it may still be necessary to produce more calorie-dense and space-intensive crops, e.g. grains and trees, growing …

buffer zones & buffer strips – what they are and why we need them

Buffer zones and buffer strips are the areas between aquatic and terrestrial zones.  The best-known buffer strips are wetlands and riparian zones.  They can consist of natural or planted vegetation and serve as a place for water and matter storage.   The two types of limitations that impact buffer zones are internal limitations and external …

biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

Entomopathogenic viruses are those that infect and kill insects.  They are superior to regular pesticides because they are not harmful to humans or other vertebrates. Furthermore, each viral strain attacks only a limited number of insect species which helps to mitigate unpredicted damage. There are two types of entomopathogenic viruses: Baculoviridae (ds DNA) Nucleopolyhedrovirus Granulovirus …

an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a long-term pest prevention program that focuses on ecosystem-based strategies for the control of pest-related issues. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques including biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and the use of resistant cultivars. The use of chemical pesticides is then restricted to applications only after …

crop wild relatives – what they are and why we need them

Nature has been doing her thing for billions of years.  It is only since about 200,000 years ago that humans entered the picture and it is only since about 15,000 years that humans have figured out agricultural production.  It is safe to say that nature may have a few tricks up her sleeves that we Homo …