Protesters film slaughter of hundreds of whales in the Faroe Islands

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 5:57am

Seven Sea Shepherd protesters arrested for allegedly interfering in the annual hunt that they say has killed about 250 pilot whales in a day

Faroese villagers have slaughtered about 250 pilot whales in the past 24 hours according to Sea Shepherd activists monitoring the traditional summer hunts in the north Atlantic islands.

The whale pods, which migrate past the islands in July and August, were herded by flotillas of small boats on to two beaches where villagers waded into the water to kill them with lances.

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Categories: Environment

The oyster fishers of Prince Edward Island – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 5:26am

Photographer Cj Gunther documents the Hardy family from Canada, who have farmed oysters in East Bideford, Prince Edward Island, for four generations. Leslie Hardy, who bought the family business from one of his brothers when it was passed down from their father, works with his other brothers, four sons, a daughter and many of his 36 grandchildren

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Categories: Environment

Tory attacks on green policies signal dark times ahead for the environment | Tony Juniper

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 5:00am

The UK government has embarked on a disastrous environmental agenda, that has little to do with evidence and everything to do with ideology

The last few months mark the worst period for environmental policy that I have seen in my 30 years’ work in this field. The attacks on renewable energy, the scrapping of zero carbon homes and the resumed use of pesticides that are known to kill birds and beneficial insects are among the policy reversals that confirm we are into a new and troubling period.

The basis for the lurch backwards has been predicated on managing public money and the cost of living, when if fact neither are backed by evidence. Take the fact that more than 40% of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (Decc) budget is spent on nuclear waste management, and yet this technology, which will take years to make a material difference to our energy security, remains favoured by policy while renewable technologies that could deliver more quickly and cleanly are being undermined.

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Badger cull could be rolled out to three new regions in England

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:49am

After controversial pilots in Gloucestershire and Somerset, farmers call for culls in three more ‘TB hotspot’ areas in south-west England

The controversial badger cull in England could be rolled out to three new regions within weeks, with Natural England currently considering new applications from farmers.

The culls, intended to curb tuberculosis in cattle, have been piloted for the last two years in Gloucestershire and Somerset. The pilots have repeatedly missed their targets for badgers shot, been judged inhumane and have been dismissed by scientists as a failure.

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Categories: Environment

I support solar energy because of my Tea Party beliefs — not despite them | Debbie Dooley

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:30am

Big energy utilities are attacking solar energy and limiting choice for ordinary Americans. Conservatives and progressives should unite to fight back

I am a lifelong conservative and, also, a strong advocate for solar energy. As I travel the country advocating for solar using a free-market message, I am seeing an awakening among conservatives in this area. There are many areas that conservatives and progressives strongly disagree on, but both are united in a desire to pass on a legacy of true energy independence to future generations of Americans. The right to solar energy is an American issue – not a partisan one.

America was founded on the principles of liberty and freedom, but unfortunately in many states there are regulatory barriers erected by the government that prohibits the freedom of choice for utility customers – especially when it comes to switching to solar.

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Categories: Environment

Woman attacked by seagull shows head wound – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:13am
A Cornwall resident is left with a head wound after a seagull attack in Helston. Sue Atkinson, 66, tells ITV News West Country that the bird swooped down on her unprovoked. The county, in south-west England, appears to be the hotspot for attacks this summer, with some residents calling for a cull of the gulls Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

UK suspends ban on pesticides linked to serious harm in bees

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:13am

Farmers allowed to use two neonicotinoid pesticides on their crop for 120 days despite concerns over serious risk to bees and other pollinators

Farmers will be able to use blacklisted pesticides linked to serious harm in bees after the UK government temporarily lifted an EU ban.

Opponents called the decision “scandalous” and criticised the government’s secrecy, which The Guardian revealed has included gagging its own expert advisers. But prime minister David Cameron defended the move. “We should follow the science,” he said.

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Cows speak up on climate and come clean about their own emissions - video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:00am
At the Pickaway County Fair in Circleville, Ohio, we quizzed cattle on their knowledge of the environment, methane gas and cow patties – ­and interviewed their owners to find out how much their animals fart. Are cows really destroying the planet? And what do they think about it? Find out in this video

• Test your knowledge of cows and climate in our "Moo or false" quiz Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Whales slaughtered in Faroe Islands – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 3:54am
This footage released by Sea Shepherd conservation campaigners shows a mass slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe islands. The annual series of whale hunts in the self-governing islands, situated between Iceland and Norway, are strongly defended by the local government, while Sea Shepherd labels the them an 'unnecessary obscenity'

Warning: this footage contains images some may find disturbing Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 3:30am

Fighting hippos, flamingoes in the Great Rift Valley and a snow leopard in Himalayas feature in this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Boris's Bus (A Political Journey) Part 44: The Flat Battery Affair

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 1:47am

What are the implications of the New Routemaster’s technical problems?

The problems with the batteries on Boris Johnson’s “New Routemaster” hybrid London bus first emerged back in March when the BBC’s Tom Edwards reported that the initial batch was having to be replaced. The story’s recent second wind owes much to the initiative of Christian Wolmar, the most overtly green of those hoping to become Labour’s candidate for mayor, and the sudden media appetite for Boris-bashing stories following seven years of non-stop fawning.

It’s been variously written that up to 80 or as many as 200 of the batteries in the 500-strong (and growing) New Routemaster fleet are having to be mended, upgraded or replaced. These include the majority of those fitted in the 55 vehicles working on Metroline’s route 24, which was the first to convert to the new bus in June 2013. Transport for London (TfL) had already set about dealing with the problem, which is being addressed at no extra charge by manufacturer Wrightbus of Ballymena.

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Categories: Environment

In The Heat Of The Moment, Drones Are Getting In The Way Of Firefighters

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 1:23am

At least five times this summer, firefighting pilots have been grounded because of drones nearby. With wildfires blazing, officials are trying to figure out the best way to save space in the sky.

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Categories: Environment

UK plastic bag use up for fifth year

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 12:57am

Average household has 40 plastic bags at home, but number of single use bags taken at supermarkets keeps rising ahead of 5p bag charge in England

The number of single-use plastic bags handed out by UK supermarkets has increased for the fifth year running to 8.5bn, figures show.

The number is up by 200m on 2013 despite the average household already having 40 plastic bags stashed away, research from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found.

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Categories: Environment

Shorten calls for an ETS and half of Labor MPs to be women by 2025 – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 11:50pm
Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten says he wants to deliver an emissions trading scheme and ensure that half of Labor MPs will be women by 2025, during his opening address to Labor's 47th national conference in Melbourne. Shorten also pledges to seek support for same-sex marriage and an Australian republic Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Ghost Bear Family: Natural World review – ‘disappointingly, they aren’t actual ghosts’

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 11:10pm
Jeff the bear-like filmmaker is sane, respectful and sensible – sadly he’s no Grizzly Man at all, which makes his nature film a little bit dull

Usually it’s obvious what to review; there’s something new or interesting or maybe a big show coming to an end. But on Thursday, not so much. The third and final part of Channel 4’s Married At First Sight wasn’t available (I see things in advance, in order to meet old-school print deadlines). My guess is that it might even have worked out for Jason and Kate, who clearly couldn’t wait to get their paws on each other at the end of the last show, but Emma and James less so, and I’m not hopeful for them.

Also unavailable: Channel 4’s intriguing Dogs on the Dole. I just hope George Osborne was watching so he can target the scrounge hounds first, before children and the elderly. And I’ve had it with BBC2’s Coast – they’ve been around so many times now, I know every headland and cove, I’m starting to recognise individual rocks. I’m dizzy, seasick, longing for a bit of Inland.

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Categories: Environment

Climate action isn't preserve of the leftwing, says energy minister

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 10:01pm

Amber Rudd cites Margaret Thatcher’s action on global warming as she says tackling climate change cannot be left to just leftwing politicians

The challenge of how best to tackle climate change must not solely be the preserve of leftwing politicians, according to the UK’s energy and climate secretary.

Amber Rudd, who was promoted to secretary of state in May, is to use her first major speech on climate change to argue that the Conservative party’s legacy of action on global warming dates back to Margaret Thatcher.

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Categories: Environment

No stone left unturned

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 9:30pm
St Ouen’s Bay, Jersey The mount overlooks weedy pools. Further out, the pools are shallower and packed with boulders, asking to be peered under

Low tide and a broad expanse of beige barnacle-encrusted rocks surrounds the mount that demarcates the northern limit of the sandy bay dominating the west coast of Jersey.

The mount is topped with a large, rounded, second world war German defensive turret; it overlooks weedy pools, under a cloudy sky. Here, in a deep lagoon, its vertical sides carpeted with a thick, mossy pile of algae and bryozoans, shanny (blennies) rest on top of slate-grey cobbles, surveying their watery domain with large eyes and glum mouths; one of these mottled denizens is huge, more than 15cm long. Glassy matchstick-sized fry swim near the surface, a pair of dark eyes followed by a thin, snaking, iridescent green line.

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Categories: Environment

Bjørn Lomborg consensus centre could be set up at Flinders University

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 5:06pm

South Australian university says it has asked for information about the $4m in funding on offer, but no firm decision has been made

The federal government has held talks with Flinders University over the possibility of establishing a research centre headed by controversial academic Bjørn Lomborg.

Flinders University said it had asked the department of education for information about Lomborg’s consensus centre but insisted it had not made a firm decision over whether it wanted to host the academic’s work.

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Categories: Environment

Readers recommend: songs about trash | Peter Kimpton

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 12:00pm

Rubbish? Garbage? Litter? Landfill or recycled, tip out your music collections to find throwaway treasures that may refer to objects, talk, situations or feelings

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” said Hector Urquhart in his introduction to Popular Tales of the West Highlands (1860). Was he talking a load of rubbish? Well, his words actually pertained to fairy eggs – floating seashore objects – and also stories themselves, seen as dubious by some, and magical by others. But the phrase could easily have come from the extremely eccentric man who lives down my street. He resembles Ben Gunn from Treasure Island, his ragged trousers hanging off his backside. He regularly wheels a creaking old bicycle that pulls a trolley, and almost every day fetches and fills his house with unwanted old fridges, washing machines, and a host of hoarded bric-a-brac. Rumour has it he’s got a double-first from Oxford, and perhaps writes poetry of genius. Or perhaps not. Perhaps he’s a ragged trousered philanthropist.

But meanwhile, what’s that sound? It’s the Readers Recommend lorry making loud warning beeps as it lowers a giant skip. And it is that skip in which you are invited throw any old iron, or indeed irony, but mainly fill up with songs about trash, rubbish or garbage. But what is this stuff? As we have already established, that’s subjective. Are there any brilliant songs about recycling? Possibly not, but there are many about things we might want to throw away, and hopefully not just to landfill. So this may refer to actual objects, but also things people say – trash talk, cutting the crap, or quite simply, bullshit. White trash? Perhaps you might want to bring this into the mix - and what demographic it might refer to. Then again trash might be negative emotions, situations, or simply “feeling rubbish”, or other connotations of these words. But to get one definition of the range, let’s go to an expert in the field, Oscar from Sesame Street.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Walker's presidency: Iran nuclear deal goes 'on day one', then Obamacare

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 11:52am

Republican presidential candidate also tells the annual meeting of powerful lobbying network Alec that Isis is a greater security threat than climate change

Scott Walker has vowed to unravel Barack Obama’s legacy, starting with the Iran nuclear deal, should he become president.

Related: Scott Walker, first Alec president? Long ties to controversial lobby raise concern

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