Spawning frogs, arrival of swallows and first oak leaves took four weeks rather than three to spread from south to north
Signs of a British spring including spawning frogs, the arrival of migrating swallows and the first leaves on oak trees took a week longer to spread across the UK this year than in the last two decades, according to nature watchers.
A mild winter saw spring flowers out earlier than usual, and signs of spring such as hawthorn leafing and red admiral butterflies on the wing on Christmas Day.Continue reading...
Energy authority says governments must take responsibility, and investment would pay for itself in health benefits
The global air pollution crisis killing more than 6 million people a year must be tackled by governments as a matter of urgency and not just left to the private sector, a report from the world’s leading energy authority says.
An increase of investment in energy of about 7% a year could tackle the problem, and would pay for itself through health benefits and better social conditions, the International Energy Agency estimates.Continue reading...
Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 1 July 1916
Surrey, June 30
The chill west winds and heavy showers take their toll of insect life. You miss the small blue butterflies on the downs, most delicate of the lesser things that fly in dozens, with slight wings that the sun shines through and tinges with all kinds of hues; two or three come carried along by the wind and escape the big drops for fifty yards or so. Then they are struck down on to the dripping bents and there is nothing left in the air but groups of gnats which seem able to enjoy summer in any kind of weather. But lift the wild clematis that just here covers all the hedge, and there are all kinds of live things sheltering in warmth. A meadow pipit goes out twittering, while a robin merely perches a little distance off and eyes you; speckled butterflies chase away, stag beetles crawl, and a brown lappet moth, disturbed before its hour, sails as best it can over the hedge.
An hour later, when the clouds and the wind have gone, everything changes. Insects on the wing seem to have recovered life, they are so many; the cuckoo spit appears as if from nowhere in the hollows of a hundred budding flowers and frosts the honeysuckle bloom; gauze-flies are in the thistles; the light fluffy fruit of the dandelion wafts across and settles on the wild convolvulus; the quaking grass shivers, although the leaves of the overgrown stitchwort betray no sign of a breeze; and the swallows go higher and higher as they circle in the red light of coming sundown. Now song breaks out again; you hear it coming up from the small wood beside the broad field where the wheat is just losing its flower.Continue reading...
Founder says he hasn’t seen anything like it in the music event’s 46-year history, and says it highlights climate change
Glastonbury has suffered the worst rain and mud since the festival began 46 years ago, consuming the region’s entire supply of woodchip in the process.
Founder Michael Eavis said he will not consider moving the festival to later in the summer to avoid the wet, and blamed the torrential rain that hit the site in the weeks before the gates opened on global warming.Continue reading...
Search and rescue operations are underway in West Virginia after flooding killed at least 24 people. Clean up has begun but some things can't be saved.
Plunging pound and Britain’s reliance on imports will mean higher prices, says farmers’ leader
Food prices are likely to go up as a short-term consequence of Britain’s voting to leave the EU, owing to the UK’s dependence on imports, according to the president of the National Farmers Union.
Meurig Raymond said the EU referendum result had been a “political car crash” and that UK farmers who receive up to £3bn in subsidies from the EU each year were headed into “uncharted waters”.
Moves to save the tiny woodland mammal from extinction could herald the reintroduction of larger lost species such as the wolf and sea eagle
More than 100 years after they were last recorded by Victorian naturalists in Yorkshire’s Wensleydale valley, rare dormice have returned to a secret woodland location there.
Last Thursday, 20 breeding pairs of rare hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) were reintroduced in the Yorkshire Dales national park as part of a national scheme to reverse the decline of one of Britain’s most threatened mammals.Continue reading...
Former Liberal leader says climate should be dominant issue of election campaign rather than ‘short-term politicking’
The former Liberal leader John Hewson addressed an estimated 2000 people protesting in the Sydney suburb of Double Bay – minutes from Malcolm Turnbull’s harbourside mansion – calling on the prime minister to take stronger action on climate change.
Speaking at the same time as Turnbull addressed the party faithful at the Coalition’s campaign launch, Hewson told protesters the Coalition’s lack of action on climate change was a “national disgrace”.Continue reading...
Is having a pint ethically unconscientious? What’s the carbon footprint of getting drunk? Time to uncork the issues
At the risk of channelling Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, the great British boozer is brilliantly ethical in some respects. In fact, the New Economics Foundation says your local is one of the top places in which to spend money on the high street if you want it to stay local. And now, in an effort to make watering holes ethical powerhouses, the Greener Retailing Publicans Guide has just launched. The report, which also identifies ways in which pubs, restaurants and bars can become more profitable, goes strong on tackling food waste, which costs UK pubs £357m a year. It reckons they easily waste at least £1,000 each year in spilled pints, too.
This matters not just because it’s waste, but because a lot of water and energy is required to convert one gallon of water into one gallon of beer, whisky or wine. Brands are looking to do something to address these environmental pressures. Heineken recently opened the world’s first “major zero-carbon brewery” in Austria, and everyone from whisky makers to cideries is trying to curtail their demand for clean water.Continue reading...
International Society for Reef Studies presidents say prime minister should prioritise reef after ‘devastating’ damage
As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists have written to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, calling for action to save the world’s reefs.
The letter was sent to Turnbull on Saturday imploring his government to do more to conserve the nation’s reefs and curb fossil fuel consumption.Continue reading...
British shoppers could be unknowingly buying wooden furniture, flooring and even food items that are byproducts of destructive illegal logging in the Amazon, environmental campaigners are warning.
Friends of the Earth is calling on ministers to make companies reveal the source of their products in order to stop the black market trade. Last week human rights watchdog Global Witness revealed that 185 environmental activists were killed in 2015, many of whom had been trying to stop illegal logging in the Amazon. An estimated 80% of Brazilian hardwood is illegally logged.Continue reading...
People in West Yorkshire enjoyed their Christmas dinner yesterday, six months after floods inundated homes along the Calder valley.
After unprecedented rainfall last December the river Calder burst its banks, flooding the market town of Hebden Bridge and the village of Mytholmroyd, forcing residents to abandon their Christmas festivities.Continue reading...
Some of the worst flooding in the state in 100 years is being blamed for the deaths of more than 20 people. Reporter Ashton Marra tells Scott Simon that many died trapped in their cars and homes.
Leave victory risks delaying EU ratification of the Paris deal, leaving the door open for Obama’s successor to unpick the pact
The UK government won high praise six months ago for taking a leading role in the successful Paris climate change agreement, the first legally binding commitment on curbing carbon emissions by all 195 United Nations countries.
With the vote to leave the EU, the UK’s future participation in that landmark accord is now in doubt.Continue reading...
Leaving the EU puts about 70% of UK environmental safeguards at risk. But Brexit is not a mandate to make us the dirty man of Europe again – we have to make it work for the environment, from the grassroots up
And so, Brexit has happened. I, like many people reading this, feel desperately sad today.
Friends of the Earth campaigned vigorously to remain in the EU. Membership of Europe has been good for our ‘green and pleasant land’, and the plain truth is that pollution doesn’t recognise national boundaries. It seems obvious to me that the best way of solving anything other than very local environmental problems is for countries to cooperate and develop solutions under a common framework.Continue reading...
Coignafearn, Highlands There is something about wild goats that appeals to me – perhaps their look of superiority?
Standing on the side of the burn, I watched the water flow past my feet, gurgling and murmuring as it continued on its way to the river Findhorn below. After the cold spring, the spring and early summer plants were all flowering together. The yellow carpets of bird’s foot-trefoil, or “eggs and bacon” as I prefer to call it, dominated the scene. On the drier areas were small groups of mountain pansies whose flowers varied from red to intense violet.
The butterworts in the splash zone of the burn were such an outstanding purple that their tiny flowers looked much larger than they actually were. Lady’s smock plants – also known as cuckooflowers, because they bloom when the first cuckoo begins calling – stood out above the others. Their slender stems topped with tiny pale lilac flower heads looked as if they were just waiting for an orange tip butterfly to lay its tiny orange eggs on them.Continue reading...
Tina Louise Rothery was part of a group that occupied field near Blackpool being considered for shale gas exploration
An anti-fracking campaigner has appeared in court faced with a legal bill of more than £55,000 and a potential custodial sentence after being sued for trespass.
Tina Louise Rotheryrefused to answer questions about her financial affairs at Blackpool district registry and said she would not pay the bill. She said afterwards she had been told she could face up to two weeks in prison.Continue reading...
Coalition revived proposals after companies said last week they would push ahead with projects
German politicians have approved a law that bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.
The law does not outlaw conventional drilling for oil and gas, leaving it to state governments to decide on individual cases.Continue reading...