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How Scientists Are Working To Eradicate Zika Mosquitoes

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2016/01/30 - 6:08am

Can the spread of the Zika virus be curtailed by eliminating mosquitoes that carry it? Professor Anthony James of UC Irvine discusses the consequences of pesticides to our health and on the ecosystem.

Categories: Environment

Baltimore warns that children are at risk of lead poisoning from paint

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/01/30 - 5:00am

After seven homes certified as lead-free were found to be contaminated, doubts over inspections mean 384 families have been urged to have their children tested

Environmental officials found this week that at least seven Maryland homes certified as lead-free were actually contaminated by lead paint or not inspected at all. The findings by the Maryland department of the environment and the Environmental Protection Agency have prompted a broader investigation into the unnamed private inspector, and notices to 384 families urging them to have their children tested for lead poisoning.

Related: The EPA's lack of integrity has cost the lead-poisoned children of Flint dearly | Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Berends

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Categories: Environment

Republicans might as well deny climate change if they don't plan to address it | Suzanne Goldenberg

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/01/30 - 4:30am

Mere acknowledgement that the environment is in peril without a plan to mitigate it is a huge oversight

Let’s call it the non-denial denial. Some Republican presidential candidates are beginning to peer out from behind the wall of climate denial that has defined the party as long as Barack Obama has been in the White House. Finally, it seems, the most open expressions of climate denial – such as dismissing long-established scientific fact – may be seen as a bit retrograde, and possibly embarrassing, even by some who are looking for votes from an increasingly rightwing Republican party.

In response to a rare question about climate change in Thursday night’s Republican debate, Marco Rubio offered up an answer that was rarer still in the 2016 campaign. He did not reduce climate change to a punchline or bash the science underlying climate change, as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have been doing throughout the primary.

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Categories: Environment

The 20 photographs of the week

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/01/30 - 3:58am

The Zika virus in Latin America, refugees struggle in the Balkan winter, Donald Trump support – the best photography in news, culture and sport from around the world this week

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Categories: Environment

We print money to bail out banks. Why can’t we do it to solve climate change?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2016/01/30 - 3:00am

We need an estimated $1tn per year to stay below a global temperature rise of 2C. Creating new money might be the only way to meet this financial challenge

The international community has agreed on an ambitious agenda to curb climate change. Some 195 countries have decided to try and cut greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2C. The question we now face is: how are we going to finance the changes needed to reach this goal? Quantitative easing – creating new money – might just be the answer.

Related: Wanted: unprecedented collaboration to solve poverty and climate change

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Categories: Environment

The chilly silence of cloudy Cadair

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 10:30pm
Cadair Idris, Dolgellau The only sound was the roar of falling water, as the Nant Cadair sluiced over the rocks. Deep moss and clumps of fern cling to the stone walls in the oak wood, wrapping the walker in a soft acoustic cocoon

The weather looked untrustworthy at best, and it was clear from the outset that our ascent of Cadair Idris was unlikely to be complete. From the avenue of trees that forms the approach to the Minffordd path, the summit itself is hidden by the steep sides of the glaciated valley, but cloud loomed ominously over the crags of Moelfryn.

Deep in the valley, the air was still and bitterly cold. The only sound was the almost random roar of falling water, as the Nant Cadair – swollen by meltwater – sluiced over the rocks into the deep, clear pools that look so tempting in warmer weather. Deep moss and clumps of fern cling to the stone walls and boulders in the oak wood, moderating the sound and wrapping the walker in a soft acoustic cocoon.

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Categories: Environment

US to stop approving oil fracking off California coast until review is complete

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 6:27pm

Separate deals require government to review whether techniques like fracking to stimulate offshore well production threaten water quality and marine life

The federal government has agreed to stop approving oil fracking off the California coast until it studies whether the practice is safe for the environment, according to legal settlements filed Friday.

Separate deals reached with a pair of environmental organizations require the Department of the Interior to review whether well techniques such as using acid or hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to stimulate offshore well production threatens water quality and marine life.

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Categories: Environment

Deadline for a government mandated product.

The Field Lab - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 4:41pm
The Yahoo homepage had some nice reminders all day today and I found this graphic of the fine schedule.  Git yer "affordable" healthcare by Sunday! (FYI - being forced to buy health insurance does not equal affordable healthcare)...and use eHeath because the $850 million government website still has flaws.  I wonder how long it will take before the fines for not having health insurance will grow to the point where they are actually more than the cost of insurance (and where do those fines go?).  My guess is that the Obamacare system will implode before that happens.  60,71,33,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Extreme weather in the UK: help us document the effects of Storm Gertrude

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 12:44pm

Strong winds have hit Scotland and Northern Ireland as bad weather continues to threaten the north of the country. Have you spotted any incidents? Let us know

About 8,500 properties in Scotland are without electricity as Storm Gertrude sweeps across Britain causing power cuts and travel disruption and triggering a red weather warning.

Northern Ireland has been battered by 70mph gales bringing down trees, closing roads, and damaging power lines, leaving 5,000 households without power.

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Categories: Environment

Jeb Bush pins hopes on 'someone in a garage' to tackle climate change

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 10:49am

As rising sea levels threaten their state of Florida, fellow Republican candidate Marco Rubio also warns that action on climate would ‘destroy’ the economy

Florida’s leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, have both criticized federal action to combat climate change, with Rubio warning it would “destroy” the US economy and Bush predicting “someone in a garage somewhere” will solve the problem instead.

Related: Trump rallies after debate: 'Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada' – campaign live

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Categories: Environment

Green news roundup: Doomsday Clock, garden birds and making rain in the desert

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 10:00am

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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Categories: Environment

Building on flood plains has a long-term cost | Letter from John Krebs

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 9:55am

Your recent article (Build on flood plains despite the risks, say UK government advisors, 28 January) misrepresents the evidence I gave to the House of Commons environmental audit committee on 27 January. The evidence I gave, as presented in my committee’s report to parliament last summer, is that building in areas of flood risk is storing up costs and risks for the future, especially in the context of climate change. Despite the safeguards within the planning system, 4,600 new homes are being built every year in areas that are at higher risk of flooding than many of the UK towns and cities hit by the recent storms.

My committee accepts that there will be circumstances in which local councils approve flood plain development. Where this occurs, the new buildings and urban landscapes should be designed to be flood resilient. Prospective purchasers should be made fully aware of the risks including the implications for flood insurance. Furthermore, the government should no longer ignore the long-term costs for society that will result from an ever-increasing number of properties on the flood plain.
John Krebs
Chairman, adaptation sub-committee of the committee on climate change, House of Lords

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Categories: Environment

Planet of the Bugs by Scott Richard Shaw review – evolution and the rise of insects

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 9:00am

In this excellent guide to the history of our planet, there is no escaping our role as the destroyer of a natural environment that insects have been looking after for millions of years

This succinct but vivid history of the planet is told from the perspective of insects, which have dominated the terrestrial environment for millions of years. It is a humbling perspective, one that puts us well and truly in our place – principally as the destroyers of a natural environment that insects have been helping to preserve long before our ancestors crawled out of the primal slime. Insects evolved 420m years ago. The first were scavengers, such as silverfish, which colonised shorelines. Flying insects evolved 75m years later, mastering the skies more than 150m years before any other creature. Prehistoric forests swarmed with insects. Shaw, who has spent 50 years studying wasps, notes with considerable schadenfreude that “stinging insects made the dinosaurs’ final years really miserable”. Today there may be as many as 50 million insect species, but they are being destroyed at a rate of one or two an hour, a “massive extinction event” caused by one species: Homo sapiens. Shaw writes with a contagious enthusiasm and is an excellent guide to the history of our buggy planet.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution from Europe's planes set to rise by nearly half

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 8:43am

EU study predicts 43% rise in NOx emissions from planes within two decades, due to increased air traffic

Air pollution from planes in Europe is to rise by nearly half in the next two decades, according to the EU’s first aviation environment report.

Aircraft emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are linked to lung damage, doubled since 1990 and are forecast to rise 43% by 2035.

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Categories: Environment

Is There A Better Way To Be Buried?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 8:01am

Can we commit our bodies to a cleaner, greener Earth, even after death? Jae Rhim Lee says it's possible by using a special burial suit seeded with pollution-gobbling mushrooms.

Categories: Environment

What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 8:01am

Artist Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard with the prompt: "Before I die I want to ____." Her neighbors' answers described the aspirations of their community.

Categories: Environment

Drowning in rubbish, Lima sends out the vultures with GoPros

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 7:26am

Kitted out with video cameras and satellite trackers, 10 vultures have been set loose over the capital of Peru to draw attention to the megacity’s overwhelming trash problem – though not necessarily to clean it up

Some cities have pigeons. Lima has black vultures, or gallinazos. They circle in groups overhead and perch on the city’s most emblematic buildings – the decrepit, colonial-era churches and crumbling 18th-century piles in the city’s downtown. In many ways, with their wrinkly heads and beady eyes, they remind Lima residents of the side of their city they would rather ignore: the neglect, poverty and filth.

But these carrion-eaters’ natural affinity for dead and decaying things is being turned into a virtue. Environmental authorities are giving these much-maligned birds a PR makeover, kitting them out with GoPro video cameras and GPS trackers, and giving them a new mission in the fight against fly-tipping and illegal dumping.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 7:00am

A sloth crossing the road, a hippo chasing cheetahs and a giant Malagasy chameleon are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Whale mania in Skegness: 'the car park was full and the beach was packed'

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 6:19am

Stranding of three sperm whales drew crowds to the resort this week, but mourning locals were reluctant to talk of a boost to economy

Whale mania washed over Skegness and then it washed away again, as sure as the tide. On a bright sunny Thursday after the largest sperm whale stranding since records began, Impulse Tattoo was buzzing with business. Whale tattoos? “Nah,” laughed the tattooist. “Haven’t done any of those.”

The Factory Rock Shop has purchased 30,000 sugar dummies hanging from lanyards reading “Angel” and “The Boss” for the summer season. Any whale-themed sweeties? “You don’t want to be buying stuff just for today, you want to think ahead,” said Hilary Fox.

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Categories: Environment

Bears get a handle on opening car doors – but could it be their downfall?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2016/01/29 - 6:17am

‘Food-conditioning’ and other adaptive behaviors have become common among bear populations – and could lead them into dangerous contact with humans

William Hefner was on his honeymoon with his new wife Sara, driving back to their rented condo in the mountains above Gatlinberg, Tennessee, when he first saw the bear. At first, he said, he thought it was a huge dog nosing around. They followed it in the car; Hefner started videoing.

As he watched in amazement, the bear reared onto its hind legs, niftily pulled the handle of a parked car, and opened the door. “He walked up to the car and opened it like he owned it – hopped right in,” Hefner said. “He seemed like he knew what he was doing … It was a shock, it was hard to believe. But after your nerves calm down and you realise the animal isn’t gonna maul you, it was kinda neat, kinda cool to see that.”

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Categories: Environment
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