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The missing 99%: why can't we find the vast majority of ocean plastic?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 2:54pm

What scientists can see and measure, in the garbage patches and on beaches, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the total plastic entering the water

Every year, 8m tons of plastic enters the ocean. Images of common household waste swirling in vast garbage patches in the open sea, or tangled up with whales and seabirds, have turned plastic pollution into one of the most popular environmental issues in the world.

But for at least a decade, the biggest question among scientists who study marine plastic hasn’t been why plastic in the ocean is so abundant, but why it isn’t. What scientists can see and measure, in the garbage patches and on beaches, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the total plastic entering the water.

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Categories: Environment

Reporters Pick Their Favorite Global Stories Of The Decade

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 12:19pm

The topics range from a ticking time bomb in the Arctic to the art of taking selfies in an ethical way. Here are the stories selected by our contributors.

(Image credit: From left: John Poole/NPR; Jason Beaubien/NPR; Courtesy of Be Girl Inc.; SAIH Norway/Screenshot by NPR; Marc Silver/NPR )

Categories: Environment

Climate patterns behind Australia's bushfires, heat and drought set to improve

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 12:00pm

Bureau of Meteorology says two climate patterns behind the dangerous fire conditions have shifted towards neutral

Two climate patterns that have been influencing Australia’s ongoing drought, deadly bushfire weather and record-breaking heat have shifted towards neutral, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The changes should reduce the chances of hot winds from the west that have been adding to the extreme risk of bushfires in the south-east.

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Categories: Environment

Barcelona to open southern Europe's biggest low-emissions zone

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 5:55am

City bans most polluting vehicles from area 20 times the size of Madrid’s zone

The largest low-emissions zone in southern Europe opens in Barcelona on New Year’s Day, banning the most polluting vehicles from entering an urban area including the city and some satellite towns.

Petrol-driven cars bought before 2000 and diesels older than 2006 will be banned and face a fine of €100-€500 (£85-£425) each time they enter the zone. A moratorium will be in place for the first three months, during which time offenders will receive notification of the infraction but will not be fined.

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Categories: Environment

The Trump 2020 impact report: from environment to the courts, 10 ways Trump has changed America

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 2:00am

As we enter the fourth year of the Trump presidency, here are some of the ways the president has left a deep, and often dangerous, mark on American life

Just six months into his presidency, Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord – making the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, one of the only countries on earth that does not participate.

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Categories: Environment

'We know what the solutions look like. All we have to do is grasp them'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 2:00am

Ellen MacArthur, Mya-Rose ‘Birdgirl’ Craig, Chris Packham, Ridhima Pandey and other environmental voices on their hopes and fears for biodiversity in the next 10 years

At the end of a tumultuous decade for biodiversity, in which a report based on the most comprehensive study of life on Earth warned that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history”, we spoke to some of the world’s leading voices on the environment about their greatest fears for the next decade – and also their hopes. As the IPBES report’s authors noted: “It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global.”

We asked three questions:

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Categories: Environment

Furry, cute and drooling herpes: what to do with Florida's invasive monkeys?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 12:15am

Rhesus macaques were introduced to Silver Springs state park in the 30s but, now 400 strong, they harbor a disease fatal to humans

Visitors to Florida’s picturesque Silver Springs state park have been warned that they may encounter an unusual threat: hundreds of wild, herpes-infected monkeys.

The monkeys, rhesus macaques, originate from two small groups released into the Silver Springs state park almost 100 years ago by an eccentric boat captain. Their numbers have soared since then, and experts predict there could be 400 roaming the park by 2022.

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Categories: Environment

Call for drone users and jetskiers to keep away from marine wildlife

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2019/12/31 - 12:00am

UK Wildlife Trusts report says 2019 saw sea change in public attitudes to marine conservation

Seals, dolphins and seabirds in British coastal waters are increasingly being disturbed by people using drones, kayaks and jetskis, according to a new report.

Plastics, ocean waste and discarded fishing equipment have continued to devastate marine species in the UK’s coastal waters, while warming seas driven by the climate crisis have caused a boom in the non-native Pacific oyster, according to the Wildlife Trusts.

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Categories: Environment

a monday matinee...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2019/12/30 - 10:51am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Greta Thunberg: 'I wouldn't have wasted my time' speaking to Trump

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/30 - 9:12am
  • Swedish activist and president attended UN climate summit
  • ‘He’s not listening to experts … why would he listen to me?’

Greta Thunberg has said she wouldn’t have wasted her time talking to Donald Trump about climate change at the UN climate change summit in New York earlier this year – the same event she was pictured glaring at the one of the world’s leading climate-change deniers.

Related: Vladimir Putin thanks Donald Trump for tip that foiled Russian terror plot

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Categories: Environment

Among 412 new species finds this year – the Greta Thunberg beetle

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/30 - 8:15am

Discoveries by Natural History Museum in 2019 include lichen, snakes and extinct dinosaurs

More than 400 new species previously unknown to science have been discovered in the past year by experts at the Natural History Museum.

Species described and named for the first time in 2019 include 171 beetles found around the world, one of which was named in honour of the teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

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Categories: Environment

Greta Thunberg: climate activism has made her 'very happy', says father

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/30 - 3:51am

Svante Thunberg says he was concerned about his daughter’s school strike but that her campaigning had helped her beat depression

Greta Thunberg’s father has opened up about how activism helped his daughter out of depression but still worries about how she will deal with the impact of her international fame.

Speaking to the BBC to mark his daughter’s guest-editing slot on the Today programme, Svante Thunberg revealed he thought it was a “bad idea” for Greta to stage the school strike that catapulted her into the public eye.

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Categories: Environment

Firms must justify investment in fossil fuels, warns Mark Carney

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2019/12/30 - 12:31am

Outgoing Bank of England governor says financial sector cutting back too slowly on investing in oil

The outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has said all companies and financial institutions must justify their continued investment in fossil fuels, and warned that assets in the sector could end up “worthless”.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme being broadcast on Monday, Carney said that although the financial sector was starting to cut back on investment in oil and gas companies, the process was not moving quickly enough.

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Categories: Environment

National plastics summit to tackle Australia’s growing rubbish problem

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 8:59pm

Environment minister Sussan Ley says consultation with states and industry will look at ‘innovative’ ways for dealing with the issue

Environment minister Sussan Ley has announced the nation’s first plastics summit to be held next year in an attempt to address the problem with Australia’s growing rubbish problem.

With Australia no longer able to send its mixed plastic waste overseas from 2021, and plastic use predicted to double once again in the next two decades, Ley said the summit will bring together retailers, researchers, school children, and governments to work out how to tackle the crisis.

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Categories: Environment

a nice proverb...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 5:10pm
Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. 2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. 3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. 4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. 5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. 6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. 7 When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Threat Of Wildfires Not Enough To Cancel Sydney's New Year's Eve Fireworks

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 4:33pm

Thousands have called for the iconic Sydney fireworks display to be canceled because of record heat and fire. Australian officials say they will go ahead unless conditions are declared catastrophic.

(Image credit: Brendan Esposito /AP)

Categories: Environment

Remembering the anti-nuclear protests | Letter

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 10:10am
Martin Forwood’s obituary takes Bridget Gubbins back to the campaigns across the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in Druridge Bay, Northumberland

The death of Martin Forwood, the Cumbrian anti-nuclear campaigner (Obituary, 26 December), has brought back many memories about the threat to Druridge Bay in Northumberland and all the campaigns across the UK in the 80s and 90s. A whole generation has grown up since those days, when the nuclear industry was backed by the government, which planned a new family of nuclear power stations on coastal sites around the UK.

In Northumberland, the state-owned Central Electricity Generating Board spent six months drilling the land and drew up the plans that still shelter in some forgotten drawer. The whole period coincided with government actions to shut down the coal mines, resulting in the miners’ strikes with their associated misery. Electricity generation was to be a battle between coal and nuclear.

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Categories: Environment

The Rediscovery Of The Colorado Orange Apple

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 5:54am

In Colorado they have rediscovered a long-lost apple, the Colorado Orange apple. Jude Schuenemeyer talks about the discovery.

Categories: Environment

How fake daylight and lots of sand and patience helped save the spoonie

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 2:05am

The spoon-billed sandpiper has been brought back from the brink after a conservation programme in Gloucestershire

After eight years, conservationists have succeeded in helping spoon-billed sandpipers hatch chicks at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust headquarters in Gloucestershire.

The birds belong to the world’s only captive flock of spoon-billed sandpipers, considered to be among the rarest of waders, and highly threatened. About 200 or so birds are thought to be left in the wild.

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Categories: Environment

Water-guzzling demands of Trump's border wall threaten fish species

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2019/12/29 - 12:30am

Survival of four types of fish and four other species in doubt as government skirts conservation laws to build barrier in Arizona

The survival of eight endangered and threatened species, including four kinds of endemic fish, is in doubt in Arizona, as massive quantities of groundwater are extracted to construct Donald Trump’s border wall.

The 30ft-high barrier is under construction on the edge of the San Bernardino national wildlife refuge in south-eastern Arizona, where rare desert springs and crystalline streams provide the only US habitat for the endangered freshwater Río Yaqui fish.

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Categories: Environment
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