Conservationists get their talons out for Japan's owl cafes

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/03 - 5:59am

‘Lucky’ owls are the latest animal to join Japan’s growing list of themed pet cafes but welfare groups are calling for the practice to stop

Several owl species sit tied to a makeshift wooden perch as a TV plays a loud, animated owl-themed film behind them in the dimly lit room.

This is Tokyo’s Forest of Owl cafe, filled with locals and snap-happy tourists even on a weekday morning, and as the countdown to 2017 begins, its resident owls will be petted and photographed by more Japanese customers than usual as people seek good fortune for the New Year.

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Categories: Environment

Cornish village marks 25 years of UK wind power

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/03 - 5:13am

The UK’s first commercial windfarm in Delabole has produced enough energy to boil 3.4bn kettles since it began in 1991, when people dismissed the idea. Now it’s one of more than 1,000 onshore projects across the country

From Pam the lollipop lady to the repairs for a storm-battered church roof, the fruits of wind power are not hard to find in Delabole. The residents of this Cornish village have lived alongside the UK’s first commercial windfarm since it was built in the year the Gulf war ended and Ryan Giggs rose to fame.

The Delabole windfarm marked its 25th anniversary in December, having produced enough power to boil 3.4bn kettles since the blades began spinning. Peter Edwards, a local farmer, erected the first turbines after going on an anti-nuclear march with his wife, Pip.

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Categories: Environment

World's smallest elephants killed for ivory in Borneo

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/03 - 4:42am

Asian elephants have faced less poaching than their African cousins but the latest grisly finds have led conservationists to worry for their survival

Even the planet’s smallest elephants, tucked away on the island of Borneo, are no longer immune to the global poaching crisis for ivory.

On New Year’s Eve, wildlife officials in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, found the bones of a beloved male elephant, nicknamed Sabre for his unusual tusks that slanted downwards like the extinct sabre-toothed tiger’s canines.

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Categories: Environment

Wildlife on your doorstep: share your January photos

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/03 - 2:52am

What sort of wildlife will you discover in the early days of the new year?

2017 is upon us and wintry conditions will be dominating the northern hemisphere in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile the southern hemisphere will be basking in summer sunshine and the heat that goes with it. So what sort of wildlife will we all discover on our doorsteps? We’d love to see your photos of the January wildlife near you.

Share your photos and videos with us and we’ll feature our favourites on the Guardian site.

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Categories: Environment

Suspected irukandji sting at Fraser Island the ninth in six days

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/01/03 - 1:21am

Nineteen-year-old snorkeller is treated by paramedics before being airlifted to hospital in Bundaberg

A snorkeller is in hospital after the ninth suspected irukandji jellyfish sting at Queensland’s Fraser Island in less than a week.

The 19-year-old man was stung on the lip while swimming in Coongul creek on the western side of the island about 11am on Tuesday. He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being airlifted to Bundaberg base hospital.

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Categories: Environment

Beyond the penumbra of fear

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 10:30pm

Thursford, Norfolk Occasionally one blackbird would position herself so close to the glass that you felt sure she was looking at you

A friend and fellow wood-owner has built a hide in his patch that’s sunk into the ground so that windows, which are fitted with one-way glass, look out at eye-level over a nearby pond. From its interior you have the most intimate ringside views of the wildlife – which, meanwhile, hasn’t any inkling of human presence.

Related: Here for the dawn

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Categories: Environment

Woodland Trust sees worst year for flytipping on record

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 5:01pm

Charity reports 196 incidents of waste dumped in its woods and lands, bringing annual bill for dealing with rubbish in woodlands to £354,000

The Woodland Trust has suffered its worst year on record for flytipping, with almost 200 incidents of rubbish dumped in its woods and land.

The charity has spent £42,596 on clearing up 196 incidents of flytipped waste this year, bringing the overall bill for dealing with litter in its woodlands to around £354,000 in 2016. Costs are up substantially on last year, when the trust spent £31,360 on tackling flytipping, as part of an overall waste clearance bill of £192,000.

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Categories: Environment

Dry winters are bad news for frogs

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 2:30pm

Ancient ponds on the Greensand Ridge can produce thousands of tiny frogs – so long as the water supply holds up

There are two types of ponds along the Greensand Ridge that runs across from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire into South Cambridgeshire. They are either lined with clay, and fill with rainwater, or they are hollows in the ground that rely on rising groundwater in the winter.

Both provide breeding opportunities for the common frog. The tadpoles have time to mature before some of the ponds dry out in late summer.

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Categories: Environment

Methane's On The Rise, But Regulations To Stop Gas Leaks Still Debated

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 2:23pm

Scientists concede that oil and gas production is only partly to blame for the 3 percent surge in the greenhouse gas in the last decade. Obama tightened rules on the industry. Will Trump repeal them?

(Image credit: David Gilkey/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Polish PM urged to block bison hunting plan

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 11:08am

Greenpeace gathers almost 9,000 signatures on letter as opponents say Europe’s largest mammals are endangered and protected by law

Environmentalists are fighting Polish plans to allow hunters to shoot bison.

Officials say limited hunting allows for a controlled elimination of weak animals and earns money for care for the herds. But opponents say Europe’s largest mammals are endangered and protected by law.

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Categories: Environment

Sheffield tree activists vow to protect 'jewel in the crown'

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 7:11am

Residents determined to block removal of 31 lime trees from row of 700 along Rivelin Valley Road

A bitter dispute over the future of hundreds of roadside trees in Sheffield looks set to continue into 2017, as campaigners rally to protect the second longest avenue of limes in the UK.

The row came to national attention in November when council contractors summoned people out of bed to move their cars and police detained protesters as eight trees were chopped down in Hallam.

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Categories: Environment

Beavers could be reintroduced to Wales after centuries' absence

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 5:01am

Wildlife experts have applied for licence to release 10 animals following successful reintroductions in Scotland and England

Beavers could return to Wales for the first time in hundreds of years, after being successfully reintroduced in other parts of the UK.

Wildlife experts are submitting a licence application to release 10 beavers in the south of the country and hope the reintroduction could begin this year.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change in 2016: the good, the bad, and the ugly | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 4:00am

2016 wasn’t all bad news for the climate, but it was ugly toward the end

This past year had so many stories involving human-caused climate change – it will be forever in our memories. Here is a summary of some of the high points, from my perspective. When I say “high points” I don’t necessarily mean good. Some of these high points are bad and some are downright ugly. Let’s do the good first.

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Categories: Environment

China Says It Will Shut Down Its Ivory Trade in 2017

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 2:59am

After years of negotiation with wildlife conservation groups, China's government has now set a timetable to end its legal ivory trade — March 2017.

(Image credit: Khalil Senosi/AP)

Categories: Environment

Glasgow Children's Wood saved from development

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/01/02 - 12:00am

After a five year battle to save Glasgow’s green space, campaigners are hoping to pave the way for new Scottish legislation

North Kelvin Meadow – or Children’s Wood, as it has been renamed by campaigners – has been saved from housing developers after a hard-fought five year battle, some two decades on from when locals first sowed grass seed on the abandoned sports ground.

In contrast to the city’s nearby Botanic Gardens, the three acre Children’s Wood is a ramshackle affair, offering a very different kind of natural resource to local residents who have gradually transformed the meadow from a derelict site into a thriving civic space, close to the fashionable West End.

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Categories: Environment

Surprise sunset paints the Sheffield sky

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/01 - 10:30pm

Parkhead, Sheffield Shortly before the day died, luridly bright streaks of pink and purple began appearing like a bruise

The window of my room here looks south-west, over the rooftops of a Sheffield suburb draped over the foothills of the Pennines, and through it I watch the endless traffic of the sky all day; the fleets of clouds steaming past on their journey from coast to coast, the planes etching contrails that wobble tipsily in the winds.

Recently, the sky has seemed muted, in the way it often does when the light is at its leanest and the weather settles for grey neutrality. But a marvel of midwinter is how even the most austere, threadbare days can give rise to the most lavish of sunsets.

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Categories: Environment

China smog: millions start new year shrouded by health alerts and travel chaos

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/01 - 8:22pm

On the first day of 2017 in Beijing pollution climbed as high as 24 times the level recommended by the World Health Organization

Millions in China rang in the New Year shrouded in a thick blanket of toxic smog, causing road closures and flight cancellations as 24 cities issued alerts that will last through much of the week.

On the first day of 2017 in Beijing, concentrations of tiny particles that penetrate deep into the lungs climbed as high as 24 times levels recommended by the World Health Organization. More than 100 flights were cancelled and all intercity buses were halted at the capital’s airport.

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Categories: Environment

Huge crocodile trapped by wheelie bin barricade after appearing in Queensland backyard

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/01 - 7:20pm

Karumba locals use improvised barricades to corral the 3.5m saltwater crocodile, which made an unwelcome appearance on New Year’s Eve

Locals in a small north Queensland fishing town improvised with rubbish bins and hay bales to corral a 3.5m crocodile who wandered into their midst on New Year’s Eve.

The crocodile kept police and residents in Karumba, on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, on high alert for most of Saturday until environment department officials arrived from Cairns, about 700km away, to capture and remove the reptile.

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Categories: Environment

Fourteen garden villages to be built in England totalling 48,000 homes

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/01 - 5:01pm

Sites for new villages include green belt land and spread from Cornwall to Cumbria, but local opposition is strong in some areas

Fourteen garden villages are to be built across England on sites including a former airfield and green belt land, ministers have said.

The villages, totalling 48,000 homes, will not be extensions of existing small towns or villages, but “distinct new places with their own community facilities”, the government said.

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Categories: Environment

The five innovations that shaped sustainability in 2016

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/01/01 - 4:00pm

From edible cutlery to drone vaccines, we celebrate the technologies and innovations that promise to advance sustainability efforts in the years ahead

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. In the world of sustainability alone, we saw the landmark Paris climate change agreement come into force; learned how rising temperatures in the Arctic are negatively impacting local residents; and watched as the world’s top conservationists mourned the declining state of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

And then, a bombshell: a certain “short-fingered vulgarian” won the US presidential race and called into question everything from America’s basic environmental protection to Nasa’s ongoing climate change research. Corporate America took evasive action, signing a letter telling Donald Trump it is serious about sustainability, while others began unpacking Trump’s emphasis on “clean coal” and what it really means for the future of energy in the US.

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Categories: Environment
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