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World Pollutionwatch: evidence grows of lifelong harm from polluted air

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 1:30pm

Historical data from studies on museum bird specimens, combined with current research, gives us a picture of the long-term harm from air pollution

There is growing evidence about the lifelong harm from air pollution. The air that we breathe as children can stunt our lung growth, potentially causing problems later in adult life. Air pollution breathed decades ago has been shown to shorten lives in the UK today. However, investigating these lifelong impacts is hampered by a lack of historic measurements.

Can the natural environment help us? Starting with lichens in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris in 1886, biomonitoring has helped to track air pollution. In a new twist, researchers in the US have constructed a 135-year history of pollution in America’s rust belt by studying soot in the feathers of museum bird specimens. Tests on 1,347 birds showed that air pollution between 1880 and 1920 was worse than we thought. The birds also revealed useful data for climate modellers. It appears that soot pollution started to decrease around 1910, earlier than thought; with dips in the great depression and a rise for the second world war.

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Categories: Environment

Call for vehicle testing overhaul as Australia's emissions fight moves to roads

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 10:00am

AAA says motorists are being misled by lab tests of emissions and fuel efficiency but green groups accuse it of delaying tactic

Australia’s motoring lobby is launching a campaign for “real-world” vehicle emissions testing, arguing the current system needs an overhaul because it is misleading consumers and regulators.

The Australian Automobile Association will on Monday release results from emissions and fuel consumption tests on 30 passenger and light commercial vehicles showing discrepancies between real world and official fuel consumption established in laboratory testing.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking protesters vow to 'put their lives on line' after scaling rig

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/22 - 7:39am

Invasion of site in North Yorkshire comes as campaigners say they have seen letter stating exploration is due to start

Protesters in a tiny North Yorkshire village have vowed to put their lives on the line to prevent the first fracking operation in six years from taking place this week.

Two campaigners had to be rescued from an 18-metre (60ft) rig on Sunday after scaling the structure and waving flares – leading police to warn them of “the serious risk created by open flames and sparks on a live gas site”.

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Categories: Environment

Turnbull, Frydenberg and Abbott's electorates back 50% renewables target

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 11:09pm

ReachTel poll finds majority in three Liberal-held seats support carbon pricing, and more ambitious renewable policy

Voters in the electorates held by Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and Tony Abbott would be more likely to support the government’s new energy policy if it ensured Australia had at least 50% renewable energy by 2030, according to a new opinion poll.

The ReachTel poll, commissioned by progressive thinktank the Australia Institute, shows a majority of voters in those Liberal-held seats support carbon pricing, and would support more policy ambition in driving renewable energy into the power grid.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to new mindful activism

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 10:00pm

Placard-bearing angry activists have their place, but their are other, gentler ways to make a difference

Activists are the vital foot soldiers of the environmental movement. But is the classic activist model – placard-bearing and angry – actually effective? There’s a suggestion that if you’re not shouting in the face of The Man 24 hours a day, do you actually care?

Sarah Corbett warns that angry activists are in danger of burning out

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Categories: Environment

dinner stream...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 5:56pm
Live streaming bunny dinnertime every night from 6:30 to 7:30 PM CST.   Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you won't miss the excitement.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Frydenberg 'absolutely confident' energy prices will fall but gives no guarantee

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 5:49pm

Energy minister says he believes Labor and Coalition can agree on reliability obligations but differ on emissions targets

The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, has stopped short of guaranteeing prices will come down under the Turnbull government’s new energy policy, but says he’s “absolutely confident” power prices will fall.

Frydenberg also indicated the major parties might be able to come to terms on the mechanism, which imposes reliability and emissions reduction obligations on electricity retailers.

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Categories: Environment

High court proves we have free speech against environmental wreckers | Bob Brown

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 2:00pm

Adani and the loggers should watch out – we have a right to peaceful protest to protect our environment

The high court has drawn a line in the sand against laws which burden the right of Australians to peaceful protest.

The court made no judgement on Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman’s decision to flatten the Lapoinya state forest in northwest Tasmania against the wishes of the local community. But it struck down his Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 aimed at stopping people from protesting effectively against such forests being logged.

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Categories: Environment

Is Congress about to wreck America's natural treasures?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 12:38pm

The Antiquities Act has been used to preserve some of the most beloved US lands and landmarks but it is facing assault from Trump and Congress

One-hundred-eleven years and a few months ago, Theodore Roosevelt signed the landmark law that helped cement his place as America’s conservation president.

Related: National park ban saved 2m plastic bottles – and still Trump reversed it

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Categories: Environment

British apple boom brings back hundreds of forgotten varieties

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 12:02pm

As events across the UK celebrate Apple Day this weekend, we talk to the growers preserving the country’s ‘lost’ harvest

Britain is enjoying a remarkable apple boom, as hundreds of new community orchards revive lost varieties and contribute to a thriving heritage market.

According to Steve Oram, who is the apple diversity officer at the wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species: “We are adding new orchards to the register all the time. Some are in allotments, others in schools and even housing developments.

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Categories: Environment

'Impossible To Save': Scientists Are Watching China's Glaciers Disappear

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 3:39am

Xinjiang has nearly 20,000 glaciers, half of China's total. They're all receding at a record pace — and will continue to melt, some scientists warn, even if global temperatures stop rising.

(Image credit: Rob Schmitz/NPR)

Categories: Environment

A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans. It's a catastrophe

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/21 - 12:00am

Insects have triumphed for hundreds of millions of years in every habitat but the ocean. Their success is unparalleled, which makes their disappearance all the more alarming

Thirty-five years ago an American biologist Terry Erwin conducted an experiment to count insect species. Using an insecticide “fog”, he managed to extract all the small living things in the canopies of 19 individuals of one species of tropical tree, Luehea seemannii, in the rainforest of Panama. He recorded about 1,200 separate species, nearly all of them coleoptera (beetles) and many new to science; and he estimated that 163 of these would be found on Luehea seemannii only.

He calculated that as there are about 50,000 species of tropical tree, if that figure of 163 was typical for all the other trees, there would be more than eight million species, just of beetles, in the tropical rainforest canopy; and as beetles make up about 40% of all the arthropods, the grouping that contains the insects and the other creepy-crawlies from spiders to millipedes, the total number of such species in the canopy might be 20 million; and as he estimated the canopy fauna to be separate from, and twice as rich as, the forest floor, for the tropical forest as a whole the number of species might be 30 million.

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Categories: Environment

'A world where a 12-year-old can cycle safely' is the aim, but minister expects others to deliver

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 11:30pm

Jesse Norman wants to make cycling safer, but sees local authorities and charities like Sustran as key facilitators, not government

Jesse Norman, the transport minister whose brief includes cycling, has only been in the job for six months but has already prompted controversy by insisting that cyclists follow the Highway Code, something criticised here on the Bike Blog.

In his office at the Department for Transport in Westminster, he comes across as affable and open – and talks the talk when it comes to bikes for transport.

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Categories: Environment

Kea or Kākāriki? Bird of the Year contest gets New Zealand in a flap

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 5:33pm

Country’s treasured avian species puff up their plumage as nation votes on who rules the roost

Bird of the Year leaderboard – check the pecking order

First there was the “Jacinda effect” and a government to cobble together. Then came the mania for the jade Kākāriki, the shining cuckoo and the stern Ruru.

New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Competition has kicked off, and it has galvanised voters with the same intensity as the recent election. Now in its 13th year, the poll pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another: the cheeky Kea versus the shy Kiwi, the dowdy Bar Tailed Godwit against the alluring Hihi.

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Categories: Environment

New Zealand Bird of the Year leaderboard: check the pecking order

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 5:32pm

It’s the final countdown to New Zealand’s Bird of the Year award, the annual contest for the most popular bird in Aotearoa.

Update: Leaderboard updates have been paused ahead of the announcement of the winning bird – check back on Tuesday 24 October to see the final result

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Categories: Environment

a friday night film

The Field Lab - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 3:01pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

National energy guarantee is ‘innovative’, says Bloomberg analysis

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 2:36pm

Bloomberg New Energy Finance says proposed guarantee could be ‘template for policy makers worldwide’

The Turnbull government’s proposed national energy guarantee has been given enthusiastic support by the renewable energy analysis firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has described the concept as “innovative and elegant” and said it could be “a template for policy makers worldwide”.

Earlier this week Malcolm Turnbull persuaded the Coalition to support an energy policy that includes measures intended to drive down emissions (the “emissions guarantee”) and ensure reliability of the grid (the “reliability guarantee”).

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Categories: Environment

Troubled By Flint Water Crisis, 11-Year-Old Girl Invents Lead-Detecting Device

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 12:35pm

The Colorado seventh-grader was unimpressed by the options her parents had to test water in their home. So she created a sensor-based device using chemically treated carbon nanotubes to do it faster.

(Image credit: Andy King/Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 7:33am

Migratory birds, rutting stags and leaping salmon are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

UK may consider electric vehicle subsidy to increase cycling

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/20 - 7:28am

Roads minister Jesse Norman says government could push councils to do more to fight pollution and inactive living

The UK government could potentially consider providing subsidies for electric bicycles and electric cars as part of a concerted policy effort to get more people cycling, the roads minister, Jesse Norman, has said.

With the UK facing health crises from pollution and inactive living, other plans could include using electric cargo bikes to deliver packages from internet retailers rather than vans, Norman told the Guardian.

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Categories: Environment
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