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HS2 risks putting costs before countryside, MPs warn

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2014/04/06 - 4:05pm
Report calls for full environmental surveys along length of route and ringfencing of cash to preserve habitats

Areas of irreplaceable natural value along the route of the HS2 rail project, including ancient woodlands that are the home to rare bats and butterflies, are at risk of being subordinated to "crude economic calculations", according to a report by MPs.

The report says better safeguards for the countryside must be imposed, and warns that the high-speed trains of HS2 must run slower than the 225mph planned if the £43bn rail scheme is to be built without excessive damage to the environment.

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Categories: Environment

Stop the slaughter of the waxwing: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2014/04/06 - 2:31pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 6 April 1914

A Wigan correspondent reports the murder of one more waxwing. When will this stupid slaughter be stopped? This year we have had one of those extraordinary sporadic invasions of this beautiful bird. It is ten years since the last of any importance. Very many parties of the birds have been reported since the late autumn, when they were first noticed, and I regret to say that I have counted the obituary notices of no fewer than 75; it is a sickening business. The Wigan bird was killed by a boy with a catapult; Bird Protection Acts and Orders are of little use, for the waxwing, rare though it is, was not included in the schedule of the original Act! One of the first reports of the invasion occurred in these notes; just before Christmas I mentioned that a little party had been seen, and not even shot at, at Chapel-en-le-Frith, but alas! the Wigan bird was not the only one killed in Lancashire. The only good sporting trophy of waxwings was obtained by my friend Miss E. L. Turner, who photographed three as they fed on cotoneaster berries in a Cambridgeshire garden; needless to say, these three were allowed to depart in peace when they had, unconsciously, left their portraits behind.

The cheery little willow wren is not the only abnormally early migrant, for on the 2nd and yesterday I listened to the chattering song of the sedge warbler, and watched the neat little singer as it flitted amongst the osiers through which the early bumble bees were booming in their hunt for honey. Reports of other willow wrens have reached me from Cheshire localities and from St. Annes, and many more sand martins have been noticed; one party alone included over a hundred birds.

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Categories: Environment

Country diary: Lake District, Bassenthwaite: A penny for your thoughts

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2014/04/06 - 1:00pm
Lake District, Bassenthwaite: This tranquil world, with its Arcadian views, is enough for one Cumbrian veteran, who sometimes just 'sits and thinks' and at other times 'just sits'

"A penny for them?" repeated the elderly gentleman, echoing my question. "Nay, lad, that would be telling." He was seated on the bench above St Margaret's church at Beck Wythop and wore a Herdwick wool jumper that was the colour of Skiddaw slate. Resting his gnarled hands on the ram's-horn handle of his walking stick, he continued taking in the Arcadian view across the northern end of Bassenthwaite, the only so-called "lake" in the Lake District, and out towards the "pudding basin" mound of Binsey, a favourite of Melvyn Bragg.

There was so much to see from all around the emerald flanks of Sale Fell, which was also one of Alfred Wainwright's choice areas. "Nothing pleased me more then the shy Wythop Valley," he wrote. "It is so easy to walk, so charming and unspoilt, a little tranquil world apart."

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Categories: Environment

The secret life of the slippery eel

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2014/04/06 - 11:00am
Once they were nearing extinction. Now, down in Somerset, a group of fisherman have assembled to catch a million of them in a single night. What has changed?

Last Monday, an hour after sunset on the Taunton Road in Bridgwater, a cluster of white vans gathered behind the BMW garage. Beside them, a small crowd of fishermen laden with plastic buckets and wooden trays of baby glass eels stood waiting for the night's haul to be weighed. The eels slithered and roiled. High tide and a full moon had brought an extraordinary number to these shores. And on the banks of the River Parrett and the Severn, fishermen and conservationists assembled with the aim of catching a million of the creatures in a single night and since their migratory route had been blocked by dams, weirs and flood defences redistributing them further along the river.

The first ever eel conference was held here in 2009. It had been a hard year for eels; numbers had dwindled starkly. Over the past 200 years, we have drained and destroyed 80% of our wetlands, while 25,000 hydropower stations and tens of thousands of unscreened waterpumps across Europe threatened the species further. Early the following year, the Sustainable Eel Group (SEG) was established, and a regulation introduced, requiring each country to devise an eel-protection plan. "In Britain," says Andrew Kerr, chairman of SEG, "we lead in unblocking the eels' migratory pathways."

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Categories: Environment

Flight Training Day 3

The Field Lab - Sat, 2014/04/05 - 7:01pm
Unfortunately, this sport is very weather specific.  Capt. Kurt was able to do a couple of brief test flights with my unit but I'm still earthbound.  This is what's known as "parawaiting".67,82,58,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Feds Hope $5 Billion Settlement A Lesson For Polluters

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2014/04/05 - 2:40am

The Justice Department wants the settlement with mining company Kerr-McGee to send a powerful message: corporations can't shirk their responsibility to clean up the toxic legacies of their operations.

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Categories: Environment

The Power of Poop: A Whale Story

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2014/04/05 - 2:39am

Whales are famous for spouts and blowholes. Turns out there's another whale opening that's just as important, but I'm too polite to mention it.

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Categories: Environment

The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2014/04/05 - 2:39am

Whales are famous for spouts and blowholes. Turns out there's another whale opening that's just as important, but I'm too polite to mention it.

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Categories: Environment

Flight Training Day 2

The Field Lab - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 8:18pm
 Too windy all day for anything but simulator training.  68,85,57,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Amy’s Memorial-Sunday April 27th

Home Grown New Mexico - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 7:48pm

Please write this date/time down from this post as we need to keep updating you on our classes for this month on these posts-I know Amy wants us to continue her vision!

From Tony Ballantine, Amy Hetager’s partner-
Sunday APRIL 27th @ 1pm! That is the date! We will gather and celebrate Amy’s life. The memorial will be at the Lutheran Church of the Servant right off Rodeo Road- 2481 Legacy Court Santa Fe NM. This is the Church that owns the Milagro Community Garden. This is the garden that was pivotal in Amy’s Santa Fe adventure. As for my friends and family… I promise you will not burst into flames upon entry… I didn’t! This is a very hip earthy church with a very cool Pastor by the name of Sonnie Eriksen Fish. Sonnie is joyful woman that knew Amy and was thrilled to help us out. After the Memorial, about 2pm we will walk across the parking lot to the community garden where we will share stories and touch the soil that brought so much happiness to Amy’s life. I imagine the next stop on the celebration tour will be 2nd street brewery (the one on 2nd street)- I am sure Amy would want all of her family and friends to have a beverage in her honor! So please join us in the celebration of Amy’s perfect life!


Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Amy’s Memorial-Sunday April 27th

Home Grown New Mexico - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 7:48pm

Please write this date/time down from this post as we need to keep updating you on our classes for this month on these posts-I know Amy wants us to continue her vision!

From Tony Ballantine, Amy Hetager’s partner-
Sunday APRIL 27th @ 1pm! That is the date! We will gather and celebrate Amy’s life. The memorial will be at the Lutheran Church of the Servant right off Rodeo Road- 2481 Legacy Court Santa Fe NM. This is the Church that owns the Milagro Community Garden. This is the garden that was pivotal in Amy’s Santa Fe adventure. As for my friends and family… I promise you will not burst into flames upon entry… I didn’t! This is a very hip earthy church with a very cool Pastor by the name of Sonnie Eriksen Fish. Sonnie is joyful woman that knew Amy and was thrilled to help us out. After the Memorial, about 2pm we will walk across the parking lot to the community garden where we will share stories and touch the soil that brought so much happiness to Amy’s life. I imagine the next stop on the celebration tour will be 2nd street brewery (the one on 2nd street)- I am sure Amy would want all of her family and friends to have a beverage in her honor! So please join us in the celebration of Amy’s perfect life!


Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Waters Will Flood Part Of Colorado River, For Just A Few Weeks

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 1:30pm

Thanks to an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, water is flowing to 35 million people in both countries along the Colorado River Delta. At least for now.

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Categories: Environment

Clean air should be a human right | @guardianletters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 1:00pm

Health warnings on air pollution should not be seen as isolated incidents (Editorial, 3 April). In recent years we have seen rates of major respiratory illnesses increase and in London alone an extra 4,000 premature deaths occur each year as a result of poor air quality. The European commission recently launched legal action against the UK for failing to meet mandatory air pollution targets. If we want to avoid dramatic government interventions like banning half of all cars on the road in major cities which Paris has enacted we need to adopt a much more proactive approach. Helping people to take simple, practical steps to rethink their travel plans can have a dramatic impact on air pollution.

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Categories: Environment

Country diary: Sandy, Bedfordshire: Relics thrown to the surface by long-dead rabbits

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 1:00pm
Sandy, Bedfordshire: In Victorian times, the narrow bed of fossils was dug out to make the world's first artificial fertiliser

In a field beside the quarry, rabbits have been digging out whelk after whelk, after whelk. The shellfish leftovers of a Victorian lunch have come to the surface. The long-eared archaeologists that raked down into the hard, moss-topped ground have thrown up a spoil heap full of bright treasure. Some of the bleached shells are intact, brilliant white on the light-brown sandy soil. Others have shattered into spiral columns and opaque curved pieces. Fresh rabbit pellets are scattered all around, a reminder there is still life down the hole.

Further up the incline, older burrow diggings have grassed over, but the long-dead rabbits from this part of the warren threw out relics too a smattering of lumpy orange nodules. They might pass for mere stones except that a few are bow-shaped and have parallel cuts, the precise slashes a potter might make in unfired clay. These are bits of fossil ammonites, sea creatures that lived here 200m years ago.

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Categories: Environment

Conservatives to promise ban on new onshore windfarms

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 11:16am
Manifesto will focus on solar power and offshore wind instead in attempt to show Cameron is not abandoning green agenda

The Conservative party is planning to pledge in its manifesto for next year's general election that it will introduce a moratorium on future onshore windfarms from 2020 on the grounds that they have now become "self-defeating".

In an attempt to show that David Cameron is not abandoning the green agenda, the Tories will also pledge in their 2015 manifesto to press ahead with an intensification of offshore windfarms.

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Categories: Environment

Windfarms have the power to change communities and political allegiances

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 9:05am
The Big Field Wind Farm in north Cornwall is dividing local opinion and may well influence voters in the general election

Beef farmer Stuart May looked across the Cornish valley where if an energy company gets its way 11 wind turbines will soon soar skywards, and shook his head.

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Categories: Environment

Caroline Lucas: 'The Green movement has to talk about the positives'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 8:32am
The UK's first Green MP has plenty to be concerned about choking air pollution, the IPCC's climate-change warnings, scant progress on renewable energy, and her trial after the Balcombe anti-fracking protest but she's positively Pollyannaish

Caroline Lucas was standing for parliament the last time we met, and this time round she's standing trial. As far as I can establish, she's the first sitting MP to be prosecuted over a matter of principle since a Labour member refused to pay the poll tax 25 years ago and she hasn't even been in the Commons for a full term yet. But her reason for risking arrest is exactly the same as the reason she ran for election: she is frightened that we're heading for environmental Armageddon. It's not exactly a reason to be cheerful and we meet in her Brighton constituency this week just as air pollution began swaddling the country, only hours after the latest IPCC report warned that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the planet, causing heatwaves and floods. But if she was relentlessly cheerful last time round, this time she's practically Pollyannaish.

Lucas must wait until 17 April for her trial to conclude, when she will discover whether magistrates find her guilty or not of causing an obstruction during an anti-fracking protest last summer in Balcombe so there are some legal constraints on what she can say now.

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Categories: Environment

Solar farms 'will not spread unrestricted across British countryside'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 8:28am
Greg Barker says he does not want large solar farms to become as controversial as onshore wind power

Solar farms must not spread unrestricted across the British countryside and become as controversial as onshore wind turbines, a minister warned on Friday.

Instead, solar panels will be rolled out on millions of homes, businesses, schools and government buildings, said energy and climate change minister Greg Barker.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife - in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2014/04/04 - 7:35am

Hungry hyenas, damp dragonflies and peeping polar bears are among the pick of this week's images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment
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