Online grocery startups in Kenya, Rwanda and Gambia help farmers cut out the middleman, but challenges such as low internet access may hinder profitability
Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market.
Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says.Continue reading...
Antarctic scientist attacked by Republican Ted Cruz says Texas Senator “has confused which way is up”.
I have no clue how many climate science denial myths a Republican presidential candidate can fit onto the head of a pin, but given these zingers are generally huge it’s probably not that many.
But we do now have some clue how many myths one of those candidates, Senator Ted Cruz, can fit into an eight-minute diatribe. At least six.Continue reading...
Officials from Michigan city testified to congressional leaders Wednesday to ‘help us restore our city’ after lead was discovered in drinking water
Officials from the embattled city of Flint, Michigan, testified to Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to reiterate their call for urgent upgrades to the midwestern city’s basic services.
Abnormally high levels of lead were discovered in the city’s drinking water after an emergency manager, appointed by the state government, switched Flint’s water from Detroit’s supply to the Flint river, leading to extra corrosion in the old lead service lines that carry the city’s water.Continue reading...
Confusion surrounds the process by which Australia’s environment minister was crowned the world’s No 1, with the news agency denying it designed the scheme
Confusion surrounds the selection process for the “best minister in the world” award bestowed upon Greg Hunt at the World Government Summit in Dubai for his efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
According to the summit’s website in the United Arab Emirates, the “best minister in the world” award was “thoroughly and independently managed by Thomson Reuters where the search for the nominees is conducted according to the established criteria”.Continue reading...
Larry Marshall says the climate lobby ‘is perhaps more powerful than the energy lobby was back in the 70s’ and criticises ‘emotion’ in debate
CSIRO chief Larry Marshall said the reaction to his planned cuts to climate science in the organisation is more like religion than science, and compared climate science with the oil lobby in the 1970s.Continue reading...
Less than 2C of global warming for the Earth, the target agreed by leaders at the COP21 climate conference in Paris last November, doesn’t really sound too ambitious. In fact, many of us would welcome an extra couple of degrees warmth. So what is all the fuss about?
Unfortunately the warming would not occur evenly around the world. A study published recently in Nature shows what 2C of warming – a rise, of this level, above the pre-industrial global mean surface temperature – might really feel like and which regions may be hit hardest.Continue reading...
The U.S. Supreme Court has put a hold on the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which would significantly regulate coal, after 27 states sued over the proposal. Among them was Wyoming, which produces more coal than any other state. NPR reports on how the court's stay is being received in coal producing states.
A massive methane leak may soon end, but its environmental impact is still being weighed. A scientist says it won't have a big effect globally, but it's a setback in efforts to curb greenhouse gases.
Many states have begun shifting funds to clean energy, and the administration has touted measures such as tax credits that it says will have a larger impact on curbing emissions – and still anticipates a win in the supreme court in June
The supreme court hit the pause button on Barack Obama’s plans to cut climate pollution from power plants, injecting new uncertainty into the viability of Obama’s climate plan once he leaves office in 2017. But that will not bring back coal from the brink, and it may not stop some states and power companies from moving ahead on their own to clean up the US electrical grid.
A day after the supreme court’s 5-4 ruling to halt the Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting carbon emissions from power plants, the White House dared to describe the decision as little more than “a bump in the road”.Continue reading...
Even before the Zika virus, mosquitoes were the deadliest creatures on the planet. But gene modification means these blood suckers’ days might be numbered. Is it dangerous to talk about ‘editing nature’, or should we consider eradicating them for good?
When an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites you, she – because only the females, which need blood as nutrients for their offspring, bite – will probe your skin with her proboscis as many as 20 times. Two pairs of sharp cutting edges, the fascicle, break the skin and then search for a blood vessel, withdrawing and re-entering until a suitable target is found. When the blood starts to flow, a salivary tube delivers a protein that stops it clotting. The mosquito holds still and then begins to suck; in 90 seconds’ time, she feels full, and stops. And then, if you are in parts of South and Central America and bang out of luck, you will have Zika.
It’s a horrible idea, and one that will draw shudders from anyone who has ever been bitten by a mosquito – which is to say, just about everyone. In the entire animal kingdom, the mosquito occupies a special place as receptacle for our hatred and disgust. Even the great and generous EO Wilson, author of the touchstone argument for preserving biodiversity, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, makes an exception for anopheles gambiae, which spreads malaria in Africa. “Keep their DNA for future research,” he writes, “and let them go.”Continue reading...
Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.
Be’s One album (G2, 8 February), featuring the sound of 40,000 honey bees, is an exciting reminder of a musical experiment first conducted 400 years ago by the Rev Charles Butler. “The father of English bee-keeping” was an accomplished musicologist, and in the seclusion of his Hampshire vicarage, he composed a four-part bees madrigal, which was published in his bees manual, The Feminine Monarchie. Like Kev Bales, Butler was fascinated by the magical sound of bees in the hive – he kept them in straw skeps in his garden – and his composition tries to capture that quality by using the unaccompanied human voice. A choir from two Oxford colleges sang the madrigal at the dedication of a Butler memorial window in Wootton St Lawrence church in 1954. It has been performed publicly in recent years, including Vancouver in 2013. Presumably the bees again waived their copyright fees on those occasions.
Rev John Owen
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Prevent isn’t making anyone safer. It is demonising Muslims and damaging the fabric of trust in society | Letters
We welcome the call for an independent review into Prevent made by the independent reviewer of the UK’s anti-terrorism laws, David Anderson QC, last week (Report, 3 February). One year ago the Prevent duty became statutory through the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015. This imposed a duty on public bodies to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
As a wide cross-section of Muslim community activists, academics, lawyers and politicians warned, the duty has in practice charged teachers, doctors and other professionals with monitoring people’s religious and political views. This is undermining the very ethos and relationships of mutual trust and openness that are fundamental to education and our public services while endangering other legal rights and protections. It is eroding civil liberties and deepening discrimination against Muslims.Continue reading...
Two-year study finds more than 10% of children in England have not been to a natural environment in the past 12 months
More than one in nine children in England have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months, according to a two-year study funded by the government.
Children from low-income families and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) households are markedly less likely than white children and those from higher income households to frequently visit urban or rural wild places, according to the survey conducted by Natural England.Continue reading...
Pension and investment fund managers have a duty to reduce the risk global warming poses to the world economy, green law firm warns
Pension and investment fund managers who ignore the risks of climate change face the prospect of legal action, according to financial and legal experts.
Global warming poses a systemic risk to the world economy and could significantly cut the value of investments, the experts argue, so those with fiduciary responsibility have a duty to act to reduce that risk, or be taken to court.Continue reading...
Plans to generate energy from Swansea Bay lagoon are further delayed as UK energy minister announces wider review of the sector
The future of a revolutionary plan to generate electricity from a lagoon in Swansea Bay has been thrown into further doubt after the UK government unveiled plans for a six-month review of the wider tidal power sector.
The promoters of the £1bn plan, Tidal Lagoon Power, said it welcomed any extra focus on this type of renewable energy but needed a final decision from ministers on its south Wales project within six weeks.Continue reading...
Politicians, businesses and campaigners from other countries rally to support Barack Obama after supreme court puts US flagship climate plan on hold
The US commitment to cutting carbon emissions under the landmark Paris agreement remains unaffected by the setback delivered to President Obama’s climate plans by the country’s supreme court, the White House has said.
Politicians, businesses and green campaigners from other countries rallied to the support of the president after the US supreme court put a temporary freeze on new rules to clean up coal-fired power plants, the centrepiece of Obama’s climate plan. They insisted that the Paris commitments on tackling emissions would be enforced.Continue reading...
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross that researchers first tagged in 1956, has hatched what could be her 40th chick, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says.
British oil company accused of being self-serving after saying fossil fuels will still be providing 80% of world’s total energy supply in 2035
BP has predicted a bright future for the oil and gas industry with crude prices spiking at $100 a barrel again, huge increases in shale output and new production from Canadian tar sands.
The British oil company believes fossil fuels will still be providing 80% of total energy supply in 2035 and admits that under this scenario, carbon emissions will rocket.Continue reading...
A decision on the Clean Power Plan could be long in coming — meaning that the rules' fate might not be determined before a new presidential administration comes into power in 2017.