Environment

Rome facing water rationing as Italy suffers driest spring for 60 years

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 7:06pm

Rainfalls 80% below normal have affected farming across the country and could result in the capital’s famous fountains being turned off

Scarce rain and chronically leaky aqueducts have combined to put Romans at risk of drastic water rationing as soon as this week.

Sky TG24 TV meteorologists noted on Sunday that Italy had experienced one of its driest springs in some 60 years and that some parts of the country had seen rainfall totals 80% below normal. Among the hardest-hit regions was Sardinia, which is seeking natural disaster status.

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Categories: Environment

Surrey meadow slowly comes to life: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 28 July 1917

SURREY, JULY 26
At daybreak this morning a white mist was so thick as to dim out the sight of the cattle in the meadow. They came lowing to the gate, waiting to be milked, and, passing through when it was open, were lost in the lane just as birds began to rustle in the hedge. Then the light spread and made the tall ragwort glisten – yellow colour seemed to shine everywhere. The stems of goatsbeard straightened, the fringes of nuts in clusters appeared of a new pale green, a farm boy clambered into the copse and came out whistling with a big bunch stuck in his button-hole, a pair of jackdaws flew noisily from an oak and went down to the village to search in the vegetable gardens.

Related: How to access the Guardian and Observer digital archive

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Categories: Environment

On the tail of the uncommon lizard

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 1:30pm

They are widespread in the British Isles and could be found almost anywhere, but often aren’t, which is a bit of a mystery

The common lizard, Zootoca vivipara, is at its most numerous and active at this time of year. In late July it is giving birth to between three and 11 young at a time. They emerge from an egg sack that breaks during birth or immediately afterwards. That is why it is sometimes called viviparous lizard, meaning bearing live young, an unusual trait in reptiles.

Viviparous might be a better name in any case, as this lizard is not common at all in many places and some people may go for years without seeing one.

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Categories: Environment

Linear parks and the drive to ease congestion

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 1:30pm

If building new roads and fast traffic lanes does not cut traffic, can it work the other way round?

You would think that ending a traffic restriction would improve journey times, but the sudden termination of Jakarta’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes had the opposite effect. To use these lanes drivers required two passengers, but a trade in hiring people bought the lanes to an abrupt end last year. The traffic could spread across all lanes, but journey times and congestion increased. In fact, traffic worsened over the whole network almost immediately. Even on roads with no HOV lanes, at times when the lanes had not operated, delays increased by up to two minutes per km. The US embassy measures air quality from its roof in Jakarta. It is too early to see the changes, but we can be sure that it did not get better.

La #piétonnisation de la rive droite, une mesure juste et pertinente. #Pollution #Transports #Santé #RivesdeSeine https://t.co/N5mKXTWX1j pic.twitter.com/xQTe6UEN3l

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Categories: Environment

Snooty, world's oldest known manatee, dies aged 69 in 'heartbreaking accident'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 12:59pm
  • Snooty reportedly got stuck in a maintenance hatch at South Florida Museum
  • Museum says: ‘A lot of people loved that manatee. We loved him too’

Snooty, the world’s oldest known manatee, died on Sunday at his Florida home, a day after celebrating his 69th birthday.

In a statement, South Florida Museum chief executive Brynne Anne Besio said Snooty’s death appeared to be “a heartbreaking accident” and added that staff were “devastated”.

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Categories: Environment

Drop in wind energy costs adds pressure for government rethink

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 10:03am

Tories urged to look at onshore windfarms which can be built as cheaply as gas plants and deliver the same power for half the cost of Hinkley Point, says Arup

Onshore windfarms could be built in the UK for the same cost as new gas power stations and would be nearly half as expensive as the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, according to a leading engineering consultant.

Arup found that the technology has become so cheap that developers could deliver turbines for a guaranteed price of power so low that it would be effectively subsidy-free in terms of the impact on household energy bills.

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Categories: Environment

The lynx effect: are sheep farmers right to fear for their flocks?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 6:00am

Plans to bring the wild cats back to Northumberland have prompted concerns from farmers, but – from beavers to red kites – rewilding in the UK has generally been a success

More than a millennia has passed since lynx roamed Britain, and now the Lynx UK Trust – a community interest company formed in 2014 by conservationists and scientists – wants to reintroduce them into Kielder Forest in Northumberland. The trust’s plans have received opposition from the National Sheep Association, which says: “The consultation process adopted by Lynx UK Trust appears flawed and misleading.”

Related: Campaigners seek to reintroduce Eurasian lynx to parts of Britain

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Map More Of The Ocean Floor In Search For Missing Plane

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 5:05am

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 did not turn up a plane, but it did uncover a detailed view of the ocean floor — volcanoes, shipwrecks, and mountains to rival Mount Everest.

Categories: Environment

As The Climate Changes, Kenyan Herders Find Centuries-Old Way Of Life In Danger

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 5:05am

Nomadic herders in Kenya's northwest are having to move farther afield as sustained drought fundamentally changes the landscape. The result: no grasses for their herds.

(Image credit: Eyder Peralta/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Robot shows suspected melted nuclear fuel at Fukushima reactor – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/07/23 - 3:16am

An underwater robot has captured images of what is believed to be suspected debris of melted nuclear fuel inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Locating and analysing the fuel debris is crucial for decommissioning the plant, which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima: robot images show massive deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/22 - 6:02pm

Robot spots suspected debris of melted fuel for first time since 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant

Images captured by an underwater robot on Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1m on the bottom inside a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

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Categories: Environment

Yami Lester: tributes follow death of Aboriginal elder and Maralinga activist

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/22 - 6:00pm

Lester, who was blinded by British atomic tests in South Australia in the 1950s, campaigned to get recognition for the 1,800 Indigenous Australians affected

Tributes have poured in for Aboriginal elder and activist Yami Lester, who died at the age of 75.

Lester, who died in Alice Springs on Friday night, lived a life of “great hardship and challenge” after being blinded as a young adolescent by the Maralinga atomic tests in the 1950s, which he called the “black mist”.

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Categories: Environment

Sharing Resources Across Countries To Fight Wildfires

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/07/22 - 5:08am

Fires are burning in British Columbia. Scott Simon talks to Alan Goodwin of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, a program that shares firefighters with other countries.

Categories: Environment

SodaStream gets busy with the fizzy … again

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/22 - 1:00am

Popular gadget of 70s and 80s bubbles up again, remarketing itself as the greener alternative to fizzy drinks’ copious cans and bottles

For anyone growing up in the 70s and 80s having a SodaStream was the kitchen sink equivalent of a magic show with the gadget up there with Swap Shop and E.T. as a pop culture reference for the era. At that time the coveted “fizzy-drinks maker” was proudly displayed on 40% of British kitchen counters, attracting the kind of awed attention that a spiraliser could only dream off today.

It was a simpler time for consumers and today SodaStream faces stiffer competition for the nation’s attention as NutriBullet fruit and veg blenders bump up against Magimixes on crowded worktops.

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Categories: Environment

Paris plunge: daily queues after city opens cleaned-up canal to swimmers

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/07/22 - 12:15am

Free swimming at La Villette is first step in Paris’s efforts to reopen some of its murky waterways to casual bathers, and the Seine could be next

Standing in his swimming trunks, Gilles looked up at the modern grey apartment buildings and trees that lined the Paris canal. He took a deep breath, then dived into the dark mass of water that had been officially banned to swimmers for decades.

“Bliss,” he said after doing 500m of front crawl, occasionally brushing past bits of green algae in the new temporary swimming zone at La Villette canal basin, where Parisians can take their first legal dip in a city waterway for a century.

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Categories: Environment

Disturbing proximity of a red kite's nest

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/21 - 9:30pm

Comins Coch, Aberystwyth I was looking forward to seeing the ramshackle structure for myself. Then the anxiety began

A month or so ago, a friend casually mentioned that they thought red kites were starting to nest near their house. Very near, in fact; actually in the garden. Even in the hills beyond Tregaron, where kites wheel and dive in such abundance as to be almost unworthy of comment, having a nest within view of your kitchen window is unusual.

On the boundary of the property, the crook of a sycamore tree provided an apparently suitable spot for the pair to set up home; occasional bulletins told of the progress, albeit slow and halting, of nest building. It seemed the birds were in no great hurry – limiting their activity to the odd twig or two each day – but eventually they had assembled a slightly ramshackle structure that managed to support the weight of a sitting bird.

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Categories: Environment

Norfolk playing catch-up in the anti-littering stakes | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/21 - 10:10am
First-class degrees | Female saints | Rambutan | Tennis and nationality | Sheep v giant hogweed | Litter

Gosh! How clever we have all become. Fifty years ago, only the top 2% of the population went to university and about 10% of them got firsts, so 0.2% of the population. Now, 30% go to uni, and 25% of them get firsts (Number of UK degree students receiving firsts soars, theguardian.com, 20 July), making 7.5% of the population. The universities say there is no grade inflation so we must be more than 30 times cleverer! Impressive or what?
Rob Symonds
Birmingham

• How refreshing, considering the Guardian’s stance on attitudes at the BBC, to find that of the 13 saints in your Wordsearch grid (20 July), just one is female, and that AnneMarie Ciccarella is “a fast-talking 57-year-old brunette” (The long read, 18 July). Do you need to know my hair colour to print this?
Alison Robinson
Seer Green, Buckinghamshire

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Categories: Environment

Pepsico, Unilever and Nestlé accused of complicity in illegal rainforest destruction

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/21 - 9:30am

Palm oil plantations on illegally deforested land in Sumatra – home to elephants, orangutans and tigers – have allegedly been used to supply scores of household brands, says new report

Pepsico, Unilever and Nestlé have been accused of complicity in the destruction of Sumatra’s last tract of rainforest shared by elephants, orangutans, rhinos, and tigers together in one ecosystem.

Plantations built on deforested land have allegedly been used to supply palm oil to scores of household brands that also include McDonald’s, Mars, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble, according to a new report.

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Categories: Environment

Mega farms, palm oil and plastic pollution – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/21 - 9:04am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Michael Gove’s green dream: like Brexit, the reality awaits

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/07/21 - 7:39am

Gove’s vision for the environment is undoubtedly ambitious but it is at odds with much government action – making it real will be a gargantuan task

Who knew? Environment secretary Michael Gove, arch Brexiter and seen just months ago grinning and thumbs up in eco-villain Donald Trump’s lair, turns out to be – in words, at least – a deep green.

His first major speech railed against “corporate greed and devil-take-the-hindmost individualism”, “extractive and exploitative political systems” and the “selfish agenda” of vested interests.

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Categories: Environment
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