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Sweetness of woodruff lingers down the ages

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 9:30pm

Benthall Edge, Shropshire This plant has had a symbolic, medicinal and folkloric importance for centuries

The margins of woodland paths are full of woodruff, white on green, and sheltered under trees is the ghost of its scent. Galium odoratum is the sweet woodruff, an erect perennial of limestone woods, 15cm-30cm high with square stems through whorls of up to nine leaves – the ruffs – ending in tight umbels of cross-shaped, bright white flowers that have a vanilla scent.

Woodruff grows in dense rugs in the shady woods of Benthall Edge at the northern limit of Wenlock Edge before it plunges into the River Severn of the Ironbridge Gorge behind Buildwas power station, whose abandoned funnel looms above the tree tops.

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Categories: Environment

Biofuels: could agave, hemp and saltbush be the fuels of the future?

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 6:36pm

Oilier plants, new processing technologies and multipurpose crops could put the biofuel industry back in the race for greener transport fuels

Biofuels have long been touted as a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuels, doing for the world’s planes, ships and automobiles what windfarms and solar panels are doing for its electricity grids. With the transport sector accounting for almost one fifth of Australia’s total carbon emissions, green biofuels could be an important ingredient of the zero emissions future envisioned by the Paris climate agreement.

On paper, biofuels seem the ideal replacement for fossil fuels, which drive global warming by spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would otherwise be locked away in geological deposits. With biofuels, the plants and algae used to produce the raw material inhale carbon as they grow, offsetting the carbon released when they are burned.

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Categories: Environment

the good bucket

The Field Lab - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 5:22pm
So the bucket went over the 2,000,000 views mark this afternoon and looks like it might make 3,000,000 by tomorrow.  Just so you know...that translates into about $1,000 in ad revenue for TFL.  The video is being shared on a lot of sites now where the views are not counted and monetized by YouTube.  I fully expect that the attention will fade pretty quickly in the next couple of days and the mad rush will be over.  I have also picked up over 3,500 new subscribers to my channel.  So far I have turned down 23 media offers.  The only offer I got that I liked was from GoPro.  In return for giving them a copy of all my raw footage for them to edit and use as they please (while still giving me credit) - I retain full ownership of the footage to use as I wish in the future, it is a non-exclusive agreement that does not involve any revenue sharing with my current video on YouTube, and they will pay me $500 plus give me a new GoPro Hero 5 Black (although I am going to try to sweeten the deal for no cash but a GoPro Karma drone instead with the Hero 5 Black and an extra battery and propellers).  That is a deal I can live with.  91,94,64,0,B      
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Man in hospital after Northern Territory crocodile attack

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 4:44pm

Saltwater crocodile attacked the 54-year-old as he tried to wade across a flooded causeway in the Daly river region

A 54-year-old man is recovering in hospital after being attacked by a saltwater crocodile in the Northern Territory.

The man was wading across a waterway near Palumpa, a Daly river region community about 370km south-west of Darwin, when he was attacked by the two-metre animal.

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Categories: Environment

Trump Tower rally demands divestment ahead of decision on Paris climate deal

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 2:25pm

Environmental activists seek to use Trump’s cabinet of fossil fuel millionaires to pressure New York City pension funds to divest

Environmental activists held a rally inside Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday, ahead of an expected decision from the president on whether to leave the Paris climate change agreement.

About 90 people gathered in a public garden on the fifth floor of Donald Trump’s building in midtown Manhattan to encourage the New York City government to divest its pension funds from fossil fuel companies. Organizers from environmental group 350.org said individual states and local councils can still take action on climate change, even in the face of a government that seems ambivalent on the subject.

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Categories: Environment

Location A Bigger Influence Than Race For Children In Public Housing

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 12:01pm

A new study finds that the neighborhood where children in public housing live impacts their life outcomes in more significant ways than race does.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

'Baby Dragon' Found In China Is The Newest Species Of Dinosaur

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 11:54am

The Beibeilong was a giant, birdlike dinosaur that lived some 90 million years ago. Scientists say it had massive feathered wings and a birdlike skull and could grow to more than 26 feet long.

(Image credit: Zhao Chuang/Nature Communications)

Categories: Environment

Fatal consequences of a lack of regulation | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 11:25am
Pollution and climate change are election issues, write Professor Steve Tombs and Geoff Naylor

The government attributes 40-50,000 premature deaths each year to the effects of airborne pollution; there are some 1 million cases of foodborne illness, which result in 20,000 hospital admissions and 500 deaths a year; and up to 50,000 people die each year as a result of injuries or health problems originating in the workplace (Enemies of the state: the 40-year Tory project to shrink public services, G2, 9 May). Yet the rate of inspection and enforcement actions for environmental health, food safety and hygiene, and health and safety have all been falling. The statistically average workplace now expects to see a health and safety inspector once every 50 years.

In the name of cutting red tape, governments of all political persuasions have attacked independent regulation and enforcement. Budget cuts in the name of austerity have compounded the problem – especially at the level of local authorities. There is now a plethora of schemes to outsource and privatise wholesale some regulatory and enforcement activities. Private companies are increasingly involved in “regulating” either other private companies, or themselves, or both. Such changes mark the beginning of the end of the state’s commitment to forms of social protection put into place since the 1830s.
Steve Tombs
Professor of criminology, Open University

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Categories: Environment

Tunnel holding radioactive waste partially collapses in Washington state

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 11:23am
  • Emergency declared at Hanford nuclear reservation in state’s south-east
  • No one injured and officials detect no release of radiation

A portion of a storage tunnel that contains rail cars full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday morning, forcing an emergency declaration at the Hanford nuclear reservation in south-eastern Washington state.

Officials detected no release of radiation and no workers were injured, said Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state department of ecology.

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Categories: Environment

Climate change laws exceed 1,200 worldwide, finds LSE study

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 9:41am

Legislation is ‘cause for optimism’ as big body of laws is hard to reverse

Nations around the world have adopted more than 1,200 laws to curb climate change, up from about 60 two decades ago, a sign of widening efforts to limit rising temperatures, according to a new study.

“Most countries have a legal basis on which future action can be built,” said Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s climate change chief, at an international meeting on climate change in Bonn, Germany.

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Categories: Environment

Barack Obama: 'I made climate change a top priority' – video

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 9:06am

Speaking at a global food convention in Milan on Tuesday, the former US president says he prioritised climate change while in office because it would be the issue that ‘defines the contours of this century more dramatically than any other’. His comments come as the Trump administration decides whether to keep the US in the Paris climate agreement

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Categories: Environment

Farmers fear for their crops after the driest April on record

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 8:55am

UK had just 47% of the average rainfall for the month but water companies say there is no need to panic

One of the driest Aprils on record could ruin crops in the most arid parts of the country if it does not start raining soon, farmers have warned.

Whisky and beer production could be affected if May and June prove similarly dry, with crops such as malting barley particularly vulnerable if not given enough water when they sprout in spring, according to Guy Smith, the vice-chair of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). “A good May may put them back on track but it’s last chance saloon for them,” he said.

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Categories: Environment

Are companies ready to rethink the way they do business? – open thread

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 6:20am

As we kick off a series looking at how business can embrace sustainability, particularly renewables and the circular economy, tell us what you think we should be covering

With millions dying prematurely every year due to air pollution, species becoming critically endangered as a result of hunting and deforestation, and water shortages emerging across whole regions of the world, the question of how companies can integrate sustainability into business strategy and investment decisions is more urgent than ever.

In our new rethinking business series, we will be exploring how organisations can embrace sustainable business models and what support they need to make their goals a reality.

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Categories: Environment

What is the best antidote for a jellyfish sting? (Clue: it's not urine)

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 6:18am

A new study of the man o’ war jellyfish found popular remedies like lemon juice and shaving foam make stings worse. Vinegar followed by heat is most effective

What should you do if a jellyfish stings you? Scientists have found that applying vinegar is the best solution, and that popular remedies including urine, lemon juice, and shaving foam could make the situation worse.

A recent study in Toxins, which investigated the efficacy of various remedies for stings from the Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) concludes that rinsing with vinegar before applying heat is the most effective treatment. The commonly recommended treatment of seawater and ice was found to cause more harm than good.

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Categories: Environment

Trump Will Decide If U.S. Should Withdraw From Climate Accord

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 4:26am

The Paris accord commits nations to reduce carbon emissions. Steve Inskeep talks to Scott Segal, a lobbyist who represents a range of energy companies, who wants the U.S. to stay in the deal.

Categories: Environment

Trump aides postpone meeting as clashes over Paris climate deal continue

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 4:23am

President promises decision on US involvement before this month’s G7 summit, but the debate reveals deep divisions within his core team

Donald Trump’s advisers have postponed another meeting on whether the US should remain in the Paris climate agreement, amid growing nervousness from businesses and other countries over a potential withdrawal.

A gathering of Trump’s top advisers was set to take place on Tuesday but has been postponed due to scheduling conflicts, as the administration ponders US involvement in the international climate deal.

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Categories: Environment

The Bornean orangutan's world – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 3:46am

The critically endangered orangutan is under threat from hunting and habitat deforestation. A new book, The Orangutan’s World, is a photographic celebration of this great ape and its rainforest home in southern Borneo

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Categories: Environment

How 80 forgotten 1930s cycleways could transform UK cycling

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 3:18am

Between 1934 and 1940 the UK built 280 miles of cycle paths with Dutch guidance. A Kickstarter campaign to rescue these lost cycle paths needs support

In September 2012 the Google Street View car drove slowly along a road in Twickenham, London. It had to reverse when the driver found three wooden bollards blocking its way. The road was not a road at all, it was a cycleway. A cycleway built in – wait for it – 1937.

Originally surfaced with red concrete, the cycleway has faded to light pink but the granite kerbs are still in situ and, fooling the Street View navigation algorithms, it looks like a narrow road instead of the normal kind of “crap cycle lane” we are so unhappily used to in the UK.

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Categories: Environment

There Must Be More Productive Ways To Talk About Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/09 - 2:03am

Rachel Martin talks to climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who stresses how unproductive it is to label someone a "climate denier."

Categories: Environment

Birdsong warms a frosty Sussex morning

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/08 - 9:30pm

Waltham Brooks, West Sussex The golden reed along the river’s edge vibrates with the pulsing, chattering songs of the warblers

It’s a cold morning, and a glistening coating of frost clings to the green surfaces of the vegetation that is still in the shade. The sun is reaching through the trees, and plumes of mist rise from the river’s surface as it warms.

The golden reed along the river’s edge vibrates with the pulsing, chattering songs of reed warblers and sedge warblers – the sound of a wetland summer. They began to return to Waltham Brooks about a month ago, and now I count more than 30 singing around the reserve. I hear a whirring from a sedge warbler in the brambles next to me, and I turn to watch as it inches up to the top of the bush.

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Categories: Environment
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