Cockney sparrows living the high life | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 11:04am
Kelvin MacKenzie and Ross Barkley | Return of the sparrows | Management speak | Kings killed in battle | Grandparents’ names | 35mm film canisters

Kelvin MacKenzie loses his job over “racial slurs” (Report, 10 May). Are we to infer that the nasty abuse of Ross Barkley would have been fine had his grandparents all been indigenous English or European? Is there no need to care about respecting other people and their feelings, so long as no racial or sexual orientation or religious elements lurk somewhere?
Peter Cave

• I regularly have sparrows on the balcony of my seventh-floor Barbican flat (Patrick Barkham, Notebook, 9 May). They are from the colony which has lived in Fortune Street Park for several years. The sparrows don’t get on with the goldfinches which inhabit the estate’s wildlife garden. Alas all these birds and small mammals are prey to the resident peregrines. Who needs to live in Norfolk?
Joanna Rodgers

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Categories: Environment

Locals dismayed as Trump's EPA gives new life to controversial Alaska mine

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 10:03am
  • Pebble Ltd Partnership allowed to seek permit to build mine near Bristol Bay
  • Environmental activists say gold and copper mine threatens local community

Further legal battles and protesters “standing in front of bulldozers” could be in store in Alaska, after the Trump administration on Friday settled a lawsuit over the proposed development of a massive gold and copper mine at the headwaters of one of the state’s main salmon fisheries.

Related: Slow-freezing Alaska soil driving surge in carbon dioxide emissions

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Categories: Environment

The Dakota pipeline is already leaking. Why wait for a big spill to act? | Julian Brave NoiseCat

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 9:50am

The leaks prove that the water protectors have been right all along. The pool of tar it left behind is also a warning of what’s to come

Energy Transfer Partners’ not yet operational Dakota Access pipeline leaked 84 gallons – or about a bathtub-full – of shale oil at a pump station in Spink County, South Dakota, on 4 April. The station stands roughly 100 miles south-east of the site of indigenous protest encampments along the Missouri river, where for months in 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux’s stand against Dakota Access captivated the world.

Despite enduring controversy over the Dakota Access pipeline, the South Dakota department of environment and natural resources did not issue a press release about the mishap because the department deals with pipeline leaks all the time. The department only issues a press release when a detected leak threatens drinking water, fisheries or public health. It logged the Dakota Access incident in its database, but the spill remained unknown to the public for over a month until local reporter Shannon Marvel broke the story for Aberdeen, South Dakota’s American News on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Historic Turkish tomb moved to make way for hydroelectric dam

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 9:04am

1,100-tonne Zeynel Bey monument relocated despite legal challenge to Tigris river construction project

An enormous 15th-century tomb in south-eastern Turkey has been moved to make way for a hydroelectric dam on the Tigris river.

The 1,100-tonne Zeynel Bey monument was lifted whole on Friday and transported more than a mile on a wheeled platform, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

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Disappearing glaciers, orangutans and solar power – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 8:26am

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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US signs treaty to protect Arctic, giving some hope for Paris agreement

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 7:48am

Secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, signs a commitment to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to extend scientific cooperation in the Arctic region

Environmental campaigners were given some hope that the US may stick to its commitments under the Paris climate change treaty when Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, signed a commitment to protect the Arctic and extend scientific co-operation.

He was speaking at the end of a meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council in Alaska, a consultative body dedicated to sustaining the Arctic.

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Categories: Environment

UK farmers call for cross-country pipelines after driest winter in 20 years

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 6:15am

Farmers and conservationists warn of water shortage, with ‘water shunting’ from wet north to dry south seen as one solution

Farmers are warning that water may have to be transferred across Britain after an unusually dry winter and spring left more than four-fifths of rivers with too little to support local growers.

Fears of a drought were expected to ease this weekend as scattered showers usher in a more traditional British spring, but wildlife and agriculture industries are bracing for a long, parched summer.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 6:00am

A Sumatran tiger, an alligator and a humpback whale are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Where oil rigs go to die – podcast

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 5:09am

When a drilling platform is scheduled for destruction, it must go on a thousand-mile final journey to the breaker’s yard. As one rig proved when it crashed on to the rocks of a remote Scottish island, this is always a risky business

Read the text version

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Categories: Environment

Arctic Council Pressures Tillerson To Take Action On Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 4:37am

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson got an earful from other countries over U.S. climate policy. At a meeting of the Arctic Council, they pressured him not to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Categories: Environment

‘Turn it off’: how technology is killing the joy of national parks

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/05/12 - 3:00am

As drones, smartphones other gadgets invade America’s most tranquil trails, many lament the loss of peace and quiet

Andrew Studer was admiring a massive lava fire hose at Hawaii Volcanoes national park when he spotted something unusual: a small quadcopter drone flying very close to the natural wonder pouring hot molten rock.

“There were other visitors sitting out relaxing in somewhat of a meditative state, just trying to enjoy this phenomenon,” said Studer, who recently captured a viral image of a drone hovering near the lava. “I do feel like drones are extremely obnoxious, and I’m sure it was frustrating for some of the people there.”

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Categories: Environment

UN issues stamps featuring newly listed endangered species – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 11:01pm

From devil rays to the baobab tree, 12 new stamps highlight some of the most recent animals and plants added to the Cites list to help raise awareness of the plight of these and other endangered species

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Categories: Environment

The mill pond mourns Aphrodite's sacred bird

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 9:30pm

Langstone Mill Pond, Hampshire The swans’ nest lies deserted, the eggs presumably scavenged while the bereaved cob was defending his territory

Almost two weeks have passed since the nesting female mute swan was viciously attacked by dogs and succumbed to her injuries, but it feels as though the mill pond is still in mourning.

Rain tears my cheeks, the water is turbid with suspended silt, and the customary raucous gaggles of mallards, coots and moorhens are conspicuous by their absence. Even the rising chorus of chiffchaffs, Cetti’s warblers and reed warblers is muted.

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Categories: Environment

Disappearing Montana Glaciers A 'Bellwether' Of Melting To Come?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 11:46am

Glaciers there are "an early indicator of the kinds of changes that are going to occur elsewhere," a scientist says. Since 1966, the glaciers in Glacier National Park shrunk an average of 39 percent.

(Image credit: USGS)

Categories: Environment

Finally, a Labour manifesto to really get behind | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 10:11am
Nationalising rail and energy, protecting the NHS and education and tighter regulation of big business are exactly what Labour should be focusing on, say readers

The leaked release of the Labour party election manifesto (Report, 11 May) has prompted predicable claims from the right that Jeremy Corbyn wants to take the country back to the 1970s, forgetting to mention that this was a time when corporations and high earners contributed a fairer share to the public purse and we had a functioning welfare state and regulated public utilities providing essential services. The Conservatives are also pushing to return to the 70s, the 1770s, and Adam Smith’s manifesto for market fundamentalism, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Smith believed that market transactions were governed by a hidden guiding hand that moderated selfishness and, freed from government restraint, business always operated in the public interest. He was tragically mistaken. As recent experience confirms, without strong regulation, progressive taxation and a vibrant public sector, unscrupulous corporations will take the money and run, avoiding tax, exploiting workers, overcharging customers and demanding savage cuts to welfare and public services to pay for their mistakes. The coming election offers us a stark choice between two histories and two futures.
Graham Murdock
Professor of culture and economy, Loughborough University

• The Guardian has (Editorial, 10 May) continued its long-running lament of Jeremy Corbyn’s lack of credibility and leadership credentials. But it was, if anything, symptomatic of the Guardian’s own loss of credibility since Corbyn first became leader of the Labour party. Caught between a burgeoning anti-austerity movement and the “sensible” middle ground of neoliberal politics, the paper has opted to remain loyal to the latter – however hopelessly devoid of ideas and solutions to the current crises in health, housing, the environment and economy.

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Categories: Environment

Finland voices concern over US and Russian climate change doubters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 8:52am

New chair of Arctic council calls for Paris treaty on global warming to be respected amid fears of commitment downgrade

Finland, the new chair of the Arctic council, has appealed to climate change scientists to fight the threat of the US and Russia tearing up commitments to combat global warming.

The Nordic country takes up the two-year chairmanship of the body, increasingly a forum where arguments about climate change play out, at a ministerial meeting on Thursday in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, will represent the Trump administration.

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Categories: Environment

The leaked Labour manifesto: our writers on how the policies stack up | Aditya Chakrabortty and others

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 5:34am

Are the proposals set out by the party ahead of the vital clause V meeting too radical – or do they not go far enough?

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Categories: Environment

Water companies losing vast amounts through leakage, as drought fears rise

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 5:32am

Customers are being asked to save water, but more than 20% of water is lost before it reaches homes and leakage levels are not declining, Guardian analysis shows

Fears of a drought are rising after an exceptionally dry spell and water companies are asking customers to save water, but the vast amount of water that leaks from company pipes every day has not fallen for at least four years, according to a Guardian analysis.

Furthermore, many companies in the parched south and east of England have been set leak reduction targets for 2020 of zero or even targets that could allow leakages to increase. Critics blame a system where it is “cheaper to drain a river dry than fix a leak” and say it is unfair to place the water saving burden on customers while 20% of all water leaks out before it even reaches homes.

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Categories: Environment

Why has Labour included bees in its manifesto?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 4:43am

Leaked draft says Labour will protect bees by banning all neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to species decline

If you were wondering why bees popped up in the Labour party’s leaked manifesto this week, then here’s the answer.

Since 1900 about 20 bee species have become extinct in the UK and 35 more are now at risk.

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Categories: Environment

Labor split over Great Australian Bight oil drilling

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/05/11 - 3:21am

Senate committee fails to make official recommendations after South Australia Labor senator, Alex Gallacher, votes with Liberals

A Labor senator has broken ranks with his party to vote with Liberals in support of oil and gas drilling in the Great Australian Bight, deadlocking a Senate committee investigating the proposal.

The Greens have accused the Labor party of being directly influenced by donations from oil giant Chevron. A long-awaited Senate report into the consequences of opening up the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park for oil or gas production was published on Thursday.

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