The Great British Bee Count – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2016/05/16 - 2:49am

These beautiful images were captured by participants of last year’s event, when thousands recorded more than 100,000 bees to help raise awareness of the threat to Britain’s 250 species of bee. Those taking part in this week’s count can send their photos using a free app

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Categories: Environment

The Welsh valleys road with some of the UK's worst air pollution

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 10:30pm

Heavy traffic sees A472 at Crumlin record highest nitrogen dioxide outside London – and residents fear for children’s health

The rush hour is not a good time to be out and about on the A472 as lorry after lorry climbs out of the south Wales valley town of Crumlin and heads up and over towards Pontypool.

“It’s pretty terrible,” said Deanna Harwick, a mother of two young children, who lives in a terrace lining one side of the heaving road. “We can’t have the windows open because of the fumes so in the summer the house feels pretty airless. I don’t let the children play outside, not just because of the risk of a road accident but because of the damage the air may cause to their health. I’ve been here 10 years and I’m keen to move.”

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Categories: Environment

Herdwick ewes come home for lambing

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 9:30pm

Borrowdale, Lake District Ever the good shepherd, he recognises the snow-white faces of many of his Herdwicks like he does people

Jostling each other, bleating the while, 400 pregnant Herdwick ewes make their way along the bottle-neck road from Stonethwaite in Borrowdale. Their destination? Nook Farm, hidden behind the huddle of slate-roofed cottages in Rosthwaite, the next village towards Keswick. Here they will give birth to the year’s lambs, soon to be seen skipping in the dale’s threadbare fields, which have not yet started to grow the fresh grass they will need to thrive. But in the meantime, the ewes are blocking the road as we meet head-on, forcing me to park up against the wall to let them by.

Several walkers wearing Coast-to-Coast beanie hats are already waiting. Their route will take them 192 miles from Robin Hood’s Bay to St Bees, east to west across three national parks, rather than from the Irish Sea to the east coast, which is the direction recommended by Alfred Wainwright, who originally devised the unofficial long-distance footpath in the 1970s.

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Categories: Environment

April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 5:28pm

Latest monthly figures add to string of recent temperature records and all but assure 2016 will be hottest year on record

Last month was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records.

The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded.

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Categories: Environment

100 years ago: Abundant signs of summer bird life

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 15 May 1916

Garden warbler and blackcap were singing side by side in the wood, where the thick foliage now makes it difficult to see the songsters; these two, in these northern counties, where the nightingale is so rare, are undoubtedly our sweetest singers. In the dense vegetation which fringed the mere sedge warblers trilled, chattered, and purred, and the more sombre reed warblers crooned contentedly. In one of those deep hollows the result of salt-country subsidence pools, deep and forbidding, are bordered with sticky mud, but the sandpipers chased above the water whistling their love songs, and the redshanks rose from the ooze with deep plaintive calls. On the steep sloping banks, where rank weeds quickly hide the scars caused by constant landslips, the lively whinchat flitted, always perching on the topmost branchlet of dead weed or the highest clump of grass. Beyond, in the lanes, the whitethroat scolded, evidently resenting our presence in the neighbourhood of the spot selected for a home, and in the trees above the silent but ever-busy spotted flycatcher watched for the passing insects. But it was above the mere itself that the abundance of summer bird life was most noticeable, for sand martins, swallows, house martins, and swifts beat to and fro in scores; one could not even guess at their number. The birds have come, and come to stay.

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Categories: Environment

California Agencies Send Mixed Signals On Drought Conditions

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 2:14pm

The metropolitan water district of southern California says it will ease up on some water restrictions, but the state is doubling down on others. KPCC reporter Sanden Totten explains.

Categories: Environment

Natalie Bennett to step down as Green party leader

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 2:00pm

‘I’m not a lifelong politician,’ says Bennett, as speculation begins over successor, with Caroline Lucas a likely strong contender

Natalie Bennett is to step down as leader of the Greens this summer, after saying she believed she had established her party as a national force while acknowledging that she was not a “spin-trained, lifelong politician”.

She will remain leader until the end of August when her second two-year term expires, but said she was making the announcement now to allow possible successors plenty of time to come forward.

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Categories: Environment

Florida woman taken to hospital with shark attached to her arm

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 1:44pm
  • 23-year-old bitten by 2ft nurse shark which refuses to let go
  • Ocean Rescue captain: ‘I have never seen anything like it’

News reports on Sunday said a 23-year-old woman was bitten by a small nurse shark in Boca Raton.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance with the 2ft shark still attached to her arm.

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Categories: Environment

Return of the lamprey – ancient, ugly and swimming up British rivers

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 1:30pm

The sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, is most likely to be seen in British rivers at this time of year as the adults swim upstream to spawn.

They are remarkable creatures but good looks are not one of their attributes. They resemble an eel and have a permanently open mouth with a great number of teeth. They also have some nasty parasitic habits.

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Categories: Environment

California town swarmed by angry bees safe again, says expert

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 1:27pm
  • Two dogs were killed and several people stung in Concord
  • ‘They were all over my hair – I had to shake it out,’ says resident

A bee expert says a northern California neighborhood overtaken by a swarm of aggressive bees, which are suspected of killing two dogs and stinging several people, is considerably safer after the insects made it back to their cluster.

“These bees are a little off the wall. We’ve been having Africanized bees moving into California for quite a few years up from South America,” Norm Lott, of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, told local KGO News.

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Categories: Environment

Obama delivers commencement speech at Rutgers: 'Ignorance is not a virtue'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 12:32pm

President’s wide-ranging graduation address defends factual knowledge and attacks isolationism as he targets Trump’s border wall plan

Barack Obama delivered a stinging rebuke to a culture of isolationism and falsehood, and an adamant defense of facts and science, in his commencement address to the Rutgers University graduating class of 2016 on Sunday.

In a wide-ranging address, Obama singled out the issue of income inequality and proposed closing tax loopholes on hedge fund managers, highlighted the importance of voting and accountability, and commented on the problems of money in politics and climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Eastbourne: the sunniest town in Britain – or the smoggiest?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 9:00am

The East Sussex seaside resort is one of the UK’s most sunkissed spots – but it’s up there with London in terms of pollution

Name: Eastbourne.

Appearance: Seasidey.

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Categories: Environment

Church offers its spires as beacons for those without fast broadband

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 8:21am

C of E creating guidelines so 10,000 rural churches may be used to provide wireless internet access to help meet PM’s vow

The medieval church spires of rural England are to bring superfast broadband to the remotest of dwellings, with the Church of England offering their use as communication towers.

David Cameron pledged in November that every home in the UK would have access to fast broadband by 2020, but has since then been accused of watering down the plan. Connecting the final 5% of homes – about a million properties – is challenging but the Guardian has learned that the C o E has offered its 10,000 rural churches to help complete the roll-out.

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Categories: Environment

Shell creates green energy division to invest in wind power

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 8:08am

Insiders say oil firm’s New Energies renewables arm could grow very big, but not for a decade or more

Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, has established a separate division, New Energies, to invest in renewable and low-carbon power.

The move emerged days after experts at Chatham House warned international oil companies they must transform their business or face a “short, brutal” end within 10 years.

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Categories: Environment

Amid India's Drought Crisis, Suicides Increase Among Farmers Deep In Debt

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 4:48am

In the parched fields of India's central states, the district of Beed in Maharashtra has been buffeted by a multi-year cycle of drought. One widow tells her story of coping with drought and loss.

Categories: Environment

Urban Foraging: Unearthing The Wildcrafted Flavors Of Los Angeles

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2016/05/15 - 2:53am

For Pascal Baudar, LA is a treasure trove of edible plants and insects that he uses in unusual culinary creations. He helps some of the city's top chefs put wild foods on menus and has a new cookbook.

Categories: Environment

The eco guide to naked cosmetics | Lucy Siegle

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/05/14 - 10:00pm

Minimal packaging, no synthetic preservatives – but are ‘naked’ cosmetics any good?

In my continued effort to experiment with green living, I’m trying naked cosmetics. I’ve traded in over-engineered pump-action pots for slices of soap wrapped in paper, and chunks of “solid” shampoo in reusable tins.

I’d have liked to have spread my experiment around various brands, but when it comes to solid beauty there’s only one serious player on the high street: Lush. What it lacks in sophistication the brand makes up for in non-conformism – 35% of the product range is deemed “naked”, devoid of both synthetic preservatives and packaging. Lush says that last year it displaced more than 15m plastic bottles through global sales of its shampoo bar.

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Categories: Environment

Naomi Klein criticises lack of global action on climate change after Sydney Peace prize win

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/05/14 - 9:36pm

Author and social activist says political action on climate change was lacking ‘and nowhere more so than Australia’

The Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein has criticised Australia’s climate change policies after winning the Sydney Peace prize for her work exposing the structural causes of the planet’s climate crisis.

Klein said political action on climate change was lacking “and nowhere more so than Australia”. She has previously described Tony Abbott as a climate change “villain”.

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Categories: Environment

Rare whale found on Australian beach believed to be evolutionary throwback

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/05/14 - 8:08pm

South Australian Museum researchers confounded by mysterious teeth previously unseen in beaked whales

Scientists believe they have an uncovered an evolutionary throwback in a rare deep ocean whale that washed ashore on a South Australian beach.

The beaked whale, found dead on Waitpinga beach in February, confounded examiners from the South Australian Museum who discovered two mysterious teeth previously unseen in that family of deep diving mammals.

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Categories: Environment

Down to the last three: can science save northern white rhino from extinction?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/05/14 - 4:05pm
International project will use IVF and stem-cell technology in an attempt to resurrect the species

Under the watchful eyes of a group of heavily armed guards, three rhinos graze on the grassland of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Most of the world knows that the rhinoceros is threatened, but the status of these animals is in another league. They are the planet’s last three northern white rhinos. None is capable of breeding. The northern white, which once roamed Africa in its thousands, is in effect extinct. The three – named Sudan, Najin and Fatu – are the last of their kind.

In a few months, however, a group of scientists from the US, Germany, Italy and Japan will attempt the seemingly impossible: to rescue the northern white rhino – smaller and hairier than its southern cousin – from the jaws of extinction. In October, they plan to remove the last eggs from the two female northern whites and by using advanced reproductive techniques, including stem cell technology and IVF, create embryos that could be carried to term by surrogate rhino mothers. The northern white could then be restored to its former glory. The procedure would be a world first.

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Categories: Environment
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