The First Gene-Altered Squid Has Thrilled Biologists

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 8:01am

Scientists have modified the genes of a squid, and genetically-altered octopuses could be coming soon.

(Image credit: Karen Crawford)

Categories: Environment

Life and death: what readers in Australia are seeing post-bushfires

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 7:00am

After last summer’s deadly bushfires, Guardian readers have found tentative signs of renewal in the charred landscape

From the eerie absence of birdsong to green shoots sprouting from burnt-out trees, Guardian readers in Australia have shared their stories and pictures of nature in the aftermath of the country’s devastating bushfires.

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Categories: Environment

Small crustacean can fragment microplastics in four days, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 4:47am

‘Completely unexpected’ finding is significant as harmful effects of plastic might increase as particle size decreases

Small crustaceans can fragment microplastics into pieces smaller than a cell within 96 hours, a study has shown.

Until now, plastic fragmentation has been largely attributed to slow physical processes such as sunlight and wave action, which can take years and even decades.

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Categories: Environment

Volunteers save New York's oldest community farm as Covid-19 hits agriculture

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 3:00am

The pandemic upended the practices that typically keep Quail Hill Farm running smoothly. It’s emblematic of an industry-wide struggle

On the same day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, Quail Hill Farm’s new director faced a problem.

A group of AmeriCorps volunteers had just arrived on the Long Island farm, ready to get to work learning all the key facets of organic agriculture – but unlike most years, the farm could no longer safely house them. Layton Guenther was fresh on the job, and before they could devise a solution, the volunteers were ordered back home.

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Categories: Environment

Big-Money Investors Gear Up For A Trillion-Dollar Bet On Farmland

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 2:00am

A trillion dollars worth of American farmland will change hands in the coming years. Wealthy investors are likely to buy more of it with the power to shape rural communities and the environment.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

How Trump is emboldening other countries' 'bad behavior' on the climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/07/30 - 1:50am

Global voices in the crisis say a US exit from the Paris agreement is damaging, but the fact no other country is leaving shows it can survive this ‘ultimate stress test’

The origins of the world’s historic agreement to tackle climate change, in Paris in 2015, have some familiar themes. Back in 2007, there was a Republican president in the White House who had long been hostile to any action on climate change.

George W Bush had refused to give US backing to a new global roadmap on the climate.

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Categories: Environment

'Silent Epidemic': Nearly 1 In 3 Kids Exposed To Damaging Levels Of Lead

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 5:07pm

It's the first time global data has been gathered on the extent of the problem. Experts are calling it a "groundbreaking" report. And the ill effects can last for a lifetime.

(Image credit: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

One in three children have dangerous levels of lead in their blood

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 5:01pm

About 800 million children, mostly in developing countries, ‘will have had risky exposure’

One in three children around the world have concentrations of lead in their blood at levels likely to cause significant long-term health damage, new research has found.

About 800 million children and young people under the age of 19 are likely to have blood levels of lead at or above 5 micrograms per decilitre (5μg/dl), according to the report.

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Categories: Environment

Fledgling 0601: the baby cockatoo that rose from the ashes of Australia's bushfires

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 5:00pm

Kangaroo Island’s glossies were flourishing until the fires. Now the tale of one family’s survival has offered fresh hope

Somewhere on Australia’s Kangaroo Island, a fledgling glossy black-cockatoo with identity number 0601 is laying down a new chapter in a remarkable survival story.

In early January this year, her panicked parents fled their nest in a gum tree at the edge of Carol and John Stanton’s garden to escape the smoke and flames of bushfires that were sweeping across a third of the island.

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Categories: Environment

Maine tells swimmers to stay in shallow water after fatal shark attack

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 11:31am
  • Woman, 63, killed by great white shark this week
  • Swimming restricted to waist-deep water in 10 state parks

The state of Maine has restricted swimmers and increased the number of spotters on the beach after a great white shark killed a 63-year-old woman who was swimming offshore this week.

State officials temporarily limited swimming to waist-deep water at 10 state parks with beaches until further notice, as sharks typically avoid shallow water. They also banned swimming at the Fox Islands further off the mainland.

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Categories: Environment

New gas-fired power not needed as renewable energy expands, grid operator says

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 10:30am

A roadmap for an optimal electricity market suggests gas prices will need to stay low to compete with alternatives on renewable grid

New gas-fired power is not essential for a grid increasingly based on renewable energy, and gas prices will need to stay low if it is to compete with alternatives, according to the government agency responsible for the electricity system.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo) has released a roadmap detailing what an optimal national electricity market would look like to 2040 if it was designed with a focus on security, reliability and the lowest cost for consumers.

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Categories: Environment

Facts behind the UK’s ‘green’ recovery | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 10:18am

Our investment in the transport and energy sectors falls far short of our neighbours’, write Dr Robin Russell-Jones and Dave Faulkner – and we are supporting airlines with no requirements to improve fuel efficiency

The investments made by the UK government in the transport and energy sectors as a result of the pandemic can usefully be compared with France and Germany using data from energypolicytracker.org (The Guardian view on the green recovery: Britain is being left behind, 28 July).

Overall subsidies are £11bn in the UK, £38.1bn in France, and £44.6bn in Germany, which includes their £9bn hydrogen strategy. All three countries are supporting airlines, but in the UK there is no requirement to improve fuel efficiency. The total investment in “green” energy and transport is £8.5bn in the UK, £19.1bn in France and £21.5bn in Germany. So the UK contribution is smaller and only 25% is targeted, compared with 97% in France and 92% in Germany.

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Categories: Environment

It's time for America to reassert climate leadership. It starts with voting | Michael Mann

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 8:29am

Individual efforts are important, but we need collective action and systemic change. And we can only get that at the ballot

In a world with so many problems, it’s easy to feel helpless. And particularly right now in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, quite alone. But even as we practice social distancing, we have an opportunity to work together to solve the greatest problem that humanity faces. No, I’m not talking about coronavirus. I’m talking about climate change.

Related: I’m bewildered that Trump would imperil America by abandoning the Paris agreement | Ban Ki-moon

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Categories: Environment

Coronavirus Pandemic Sidelines California's Inmate Firefighters

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 7:46am

The inmates who usually help fight wildfires are not on the job this summer because of COVID-19. As the state enters peak fire season, that means its forces are down significantly.

(Image credit: Noah Berger/AP)

Categories: Environment

Dutch city redraws its layout to prepare for global heating effects

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 3:28am

Measures include replacing 10% of Arnhem’s asphalt with grass to better cope with heat

The Dutch city of Arnhem is digging up asphalt roads and creating shady areas around busy shopping districts after concluding that the consequences of global heating are unavoidable.

Under a 10-year plan for the city unveiled on Wednesday, a new layout is proposed to better prepare residents for extreme weather conditions such as downpours, droughts and intense heatwaves.

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Categories: Environment

This US river is so beautiful there's a lottery to raft it. Could it be ruined by a new mine?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/07/29 - 1:00am

Thousands apply yearly to travel Montana’s Smith River. Now anglers, ranchers and conservationists fear for its future

Annick Smith was one of the lucky ones. This year, the 84-year-old writer and documentary film-maker took her first trip down the Smith River in western Montana.

A lazy 59-mile float through deep limestone canyons, green meadows and pine forests that support the best brown trout fishery in the state, the Smith River is so popular it requires a lottery, the only one of its kind in Montana, to keep its fans from loving it to death.

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Categories: Environment

UK's biggest pension fund begins fossil fuels divestment

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/07/28 - 10:01pm

National Employment Savings Trust to shun firms involved in coal, tar sands or arctic drilling

The UK’s biggest pension fund, the government-backed National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) scheme with nine million members, is to begin divesting from fossil fuels in what climate campaigners have hailed as a landmark move for the industry.

The fund will ban investments in any companies involved in coal mining, oil from tar sands and arctic drilling. But the move puts Nest – a public corporation of the Department for Work and Pensions – potentially at odds with the current pensions minister, Guy Opperman, who earlier this month condemned divestment as “counter productive”.

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Categories: Environment

Loss of bees causes shortage of key food crops, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/07/28 - 9:01pm
  • Apple and cherry production hampered by lack of wild bees
  • Bees affected by loss of habitat, pesticides and climate crisis

A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.

Related: ‘Murder hornets’: race to protect North America's honeybees from giant invader

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Categories: Environment

Record 212 land and environment activists killed last year

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2020/07/28 - 5:01pm

Global Witness campaigners warn of risk of further killings during Covid-19 lockdowns

A record number of people were killed last year for defending their land and environment, according to research that highlights the routine murder of activists who oppose extractive industries driving the climate crisis and the destruction of nature.

More than four defenders were killed every week in 2019, according to an annual death toll compiled by the independent watchdog Global Witness, amid growing evidence of opportunistic killings during the Covid-19 lockdown in which activists were left as “sitting ducks” in their own homes.

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Categories: Environment
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