Feed aggregator

European Union is a progressive force in controlling pollution | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 11:05am

In attributing the rise in air pollutants in London to the EU, Nigel Pollitt is being disingenuous (Letters, 6 June). As chairman of the UK Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards for a decade to 2002, I was regularly asked by journalists as to whether diesel or petrol vehicles were better, and always gave the same answer: it depends whether you wish to increase air pollution or to accelerate global climate change, since diesel was more efficient but also more polluting. Thus it would have been Hobson’s choice, were it not for the unasked alternative, which was to get out of the car or, if that was not always possible, to drive the car with the smallest possible engine and to do so with minimal use of accelerator and brake.

Mr Pollitt should also know that all the evidence-based air quality standards that our panel proposed to the UK government were passed into law and then used by the EU for setting pan-European standards, resulting in a general reduction of pollution across Europe and in the UK. The recent rise in pollution in London is related to the selfish behaviour of those who purchase large diesel vehicles and use them for short journeys when efficient electric and hybrid vehicles are now available.
Anthony Seaton
Emeritus professor of environmental medicine, Aberdeen University

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

MPs attack loopholes in cosmetic industry's microbead phase out

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 9:34am

Environment committee criticises voluntary action to end the tiny plastic particles that pollute seas, and slam the lack of labelling on microbead products

Voluntary action by the cosmetics industry to phase out the use of microbeads in Europe came under strong attack from MPs on Wednesday, who criticised loopholes in the pledges and slammed the lack of labelling on products containing the plastic particles.

Tiny plastic beads are widely used in toiletries and cosmetics but thousands of tonnes of them wash into the sea every year, where they harm wildlife and can ultimately be eaten by people. The US has banned microbeads and a petition signed by over 300,000 people asking for a ban in the UK was delivered to David Cameron on Wednesday.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Live Forever

Holy Scrap - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 8:33am
Tibetan Buddhists say that an individual human life span was once 10,000 years. Mystics suggest that we should live forever. This week while considering the purpose of death, a way that these concepts could be true occurred to me.
Most people live in a state of separation, believing their individual lives to be they’re own, rather than  feeling apart of a single life. Modern ecological movements expose a unified view of reality with hopes that the shift in perspective will save us from certain death. The Gaia Hypothesis for example, and the singularity concept popularized by futurist and leader of the trans-humanist movement, Ray Kurzweil. Both theories say that we’re part of one living organism. The word universe means one thing. In translation uni-verses means turned into one, or towards one. Monotheistic spiritual groups have been teaching ways to understand this for ages.
This week I realized why there is death, and I see a way to outgrow the need for it. We die because we live in a divided state. Death and regeneration are the cause of action and change. Without death the new cannot arrive, the old cannot expire. Imagine being stuck with every limiting idea that's ever been. Imagine there being no way out of the concept that the world is flat. People today would be worrying about falling off the edge of the earth. Death allows false ideas to pass on and birth creates the impulse for new ideas. Consider the large retiree population alive in America today who vote in elections, influence the marketplace through purchasing, cause pollution and consume resources. When they pass the effects of it will be felt all over the world. Those born around the same time will enter the echo of those who passed (the dead's ideas impressed upon matter), and so on with each generation leaving behind impressions that get inherited by the young. Today, like every other day on earth, we have a belief no less ridiculous than the world being flat. Death roots out the false. If not for death and birth the world would still be flat. The young inherit all that is known and are tasked with figuring out what those before failed to understand.
Evolution is the process by which life and death bring about a clearer view of what we are. Evolution produced the human being, a creature unique in the ability to contemplate existence and realize that amidst change exist essential truths. We observe the laws of nature to learn the nature of reality. Matter is ruled by duality, by opposites. Cells turn on/off and this flicker causes world; we know hot by cold and joy by pain. We inhale and exhale. We are born we die. The binary code 0 -1 carries us into a technological version of the world yet still we’re anchored in the same code, duality. By these rules the singularity that burst into multiplicity at the big bang must return from multiplicity back to a singularity - an exhale followed by an inhale. 
If human beings stop needing to die in order to learn who we are (a uni-verse, a singular entity), than we’ll stop dying. From the perspective of the universe, we’ve never died or been born. Your DNA is the DNA of the singularity that burst forth billions of years ago. It is also the DNA of a strawberry, and an avocado, life made ever more complex and yet still the original. In spite of billions of years of evolution, everything carries the same DNA that was at the start of life. In this way, you’ve never died. You’ve always been here, "life lives, only death dies." What dies are false ideas. 
Mystics make a goal of experiencing immortality. Contemplative phrases like ‘die before you die,’ and ‘life lives only death dies,’ are portals. I was contemplating these words when I realized that we die to create the conditions for the discovery of who we are. This discovery is the purpose of life as we know it. Once realized the cycle of life and death may change radically through a kind of punctuated equilibrium or paradigm shift (another law of nature is chaos).
0 0 1 673 3842 Without Names 32 9 4506 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;}
I enjoy knowing that I have always been here and will always be here and that death is an illusion. This perspective is important for growth. It gives courage to change. Death is practical and necessary for this singularity’s awakening. Perhaps we already live forever, and we die (as individuals) that we may live forever and evolve. Look to nature and you’ll see, something new is always emerging.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Code Switch Podcast, Episode 2: Being 'Outdoorsy' When You're Black Or Brown

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 8:03am

On this episode, Shereen and Adrian take a look at why being "outdoorsy" can get complicated when you're a person of color in America.

Categories: Environment

Arctic sea ice fell to record low for May

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 7:42am

This year could be worst ever for melt as data shows average sea ice extent for last month was more than half a million square kilometres smaller than the previous record of May 2012

Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest ever May extent, prompting fears that this year could beat 2012 for the record of worst ever summer sea ice melt.

Data published by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) this week showed average sea ice extent for last month was more than 500,000 sq km (193,000 sq miles) smaller than May 2012.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

How Bernie Sanders made Hillary Clinton into a greener candidate

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 7:10am

He may have lost his campaign, but Sanders achieved major wins, making his rival promise more on green policies and climate change, reports Grist

Hillary Clinton is her party’s presumptive nominee. Whether Sanders drops out tomorrow or the day he loses the roll-call vote at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, his campaign is over.

But if ever there were a losing campaign that achieved some major wins, it’s Sanders’. Not only did he force Clinton to talk more about economic inequality, he pushed her to promise stronger action to fight climate change and rein in fossil fuel companies. If Hillary Clinton becomes president and keeps some of her more recent promises to restrict oil drilling and fracking, Sanders will deserve a share of the credit.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

World carbon emissions stopped growing in 2015, says BP

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 6:30am

Move towards renewable energy and away from coal power helped stall emissions growth last year but slowdown may be temporary, says oil giant

Carbon emissions stopped growing in 2015 for the first time in 10 years as the world turned its back on coal and embraced energy efficiency and renewable power with increased vigour, according to a new set of statistics.

China led the way in driving down emissions but the latest figures from oil company BP come with a warning that the progress may not last.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

New ocean map reveals health of seas and value of protecting them – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 6:00am

The Atlas of Ocean Wealth, published ahead of World Oceans Day, brings together data from thousands of sources – from governments to Flickr photos – to provide insight into the economic and social value of our marine life. It is being used to pinpoint areas where even small-scale interventions can make a big difference to benefit local people and improve sustainability

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

European parliament slams G7 food project in Africa

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 5:54am

Euro-MPs criticise G7-led food security programme, saying it pushes agribusiness and GM to the detriment of biodiversity and small-scale farmers

For a large majority of Euro-MPs, the G7’s decision to base its programme for food security in Africa on intensive agriculture is a mistake. The European parliament took its first official stance on the subject with the adoption of a report on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) on Tuesday.

“We have already made the mistake of intensive agriculture in Europe. We should not replicate it in Africa because this model destroys family farming and reduces biodiversity,” said Mara Heubuch, a German Green MEP and rapporteur on the new alliance.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Top beauty brands accused of refusing MPs' call for hearing on microplastics

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 5:07am

Companies should come clean on the harm plastic microbeads in their products is causing to marine life, says environment committee chair

The UK’s biggest beauty brands have been accused by an influential MP of showing contempt for their customers by refusing to appear in parliament to answer questions on the impact that their products are having on the oceans.

MPs on the environmental audit committee will hear on Wednesday from the UK and European cosmetics trade bodies on the harm caused by plastic ‘microbeads’ in cosmetics, which are mistaken for food by marine life.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Indonesia plans tougher punishments for poachers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 3:52am

Environmentalists are sceptical that plans to quadruple maximum jail terms from five to 20 years will be effective.

Indonesia plans to quadruple maximum jail terms for animal poachers and traffickers in a major overhaul of wildlife crime laws, but environmentalists expressed scepticism on Wednesday that the changes would be effective.

Maximum sentences for poaching and trading protected animals will be increased from five years to 20 under the new legislation proposed by the environment and forestry ministry.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

To protect oceans from microplastics the UK must work with Europe | Mary Creagh

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 3:15am

The microbead pollution contaminating our marine life does not respect borders. As UK ministers meet on World Oceans Day they must look to find solutions by working with our neighbours and partners in Europe

From the shallowest coastal waters to the depths of the oceanic trenches some 10,000 meters beneath the sea, our oceans are home to a vast amount of life on earth. Covering over two-thirds of the world’s surface, they provide food and support tourism and leisure in every part of the world.

Our oceans are under pressure from warming and acidification, and on World Oceans Day, the environmental audit committee, which I chair, will be hearing about microplastic pollution.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Trump and global warming: Americans are failing risk management | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 3:00am

40% of Americans don’t understand the risks posed by climate change or a President Donald Trump

Currently, about 40% of Americans support Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and about 40% of Americans are not worried about global warming. While short of a majority, this is a substantial fraction of the American public failing to grasp the risks associated with a Donald Trump presidency and potentially catastrophic climate change impacts.

In Business Insider, Josh Barro recently wrote about the former:

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Younger voters put social issues and environment before economy, survey shows

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 2:36am

Asylum seekers, marriage equality and climate change top of issues those surveyed wanted addressed

A survey of thousands of young Australians has found they are more interested in social and environmental issues than economic concerns, heading into the election.

The Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY), and a group called Youth Action, conducted a national survey of 3369 Australians aged between 12 and 25, between 4 April and 2 May.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Was It Worth It For Lesotho To Sell Its Water To South Africa?

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 2:10am

What happens when a country decides to sell its water then hits a drought? Our Planet Money team takes us to a country in Africa that might have given away its most valuable resource.

Categories: Environment

Landowners And Federal Officials Dispute Red River's Boundaries

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 2:10am

The federal government is changing the border between Texas and Oklahoma. What's going on? That's what landowners along the Red River want to know.

Categories: Environment

Barnaby Joyce: using constitution to block Shenhua would be 'disastrous'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 1:39am

The deputy prime minister rejects suggestion by constitutional expert George Williams that section 51 could be used to halt mine on environmental grounds

Barnaby Joyce has rejected outright the use of an export power in the constitution to stop the Shenhua Watermark mine, saying it would be “economically and socially disastrous”.

Joyce told the Q&A audience in Tamworth this week that the commonwealth could do very little to stop mining on prime agricultural land near his New England electorate after an audience member asked about the commonwealth powers.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

Down to 60: scientists mull risky captive breeding for panda porpoise

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 1:07am

As the vaquita – the world’s smallest porpoise – plunges toward extinction, scientists have a tough decision ahead of them: to attempt a super risky captive breeding programme or not?

Today, there are approximately 7.3 billion people on the planet – and only 60 vaquitas. The vaquita has seen its population drop by 92 percent in less than 20 years in Mexico’s Gulf of California as the tiny porpoises suffocate to death one-by-one in gillnets. Now, scientists with the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) are cautiously moving forward on a once unthinkable option: captive breeding.

“We have no idea whether it is feasible to find, capture and maintain vaquitas in captivity much less whether they will reproduce,” said Barbara Taylor, one of the world’s foremost experts on the vaquita with NOAA. “The uncertainties are large.”

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

The jumping shark: great white pictured completely out of the water

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 1:04am

Nathan McLaren, an electrician, captured the moment a 3.3m long shark breached out of the water behind a surfer on the east coast of Australia

A once-in-a-lifetime photograph has caught the moment a great white shark breached its entire body out of the water behind an oblivious surfer.

The photograph was taken by Nathan McLaren on Tuesday as he watched surfers off Swansea Heads, just south of Newcastle in New South Wales.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment

West Australian editor defends 'Jaws' front page image of shark pursuing children

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2016/06/08 - 12:10am

Image met with accusations of fearmongering, but after two fatal shark attacks in five days, Brett McCarthy says risk of mauling is ‘now clearly a public safety issue’

The editor of the West Australian newspaper has defended the paper’s controversial front page, which featured a photoshopped image of children being chased out of the surf by a shark under the headline “Will it take this?”

It followed calls from the paper for the government to restart its controversial shark cull policy after two fatal shark attacks in five days.

Continue reading...
Categories: Environment
Syndicate content