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EPA Criticized For Slow Response To Wastewater Spill In Colorado

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/08/13 - 2:24am

The Environmental Protection Agency and multiple western states are dealing with the spill into Colorado's Animas River. It was triggered by a crew of EPA contractors working at the Gold King Mine.

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Categories: Environment

Listening To Whale Migration Reveals A Sea Of Noise Pollution, Too

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2015/08/13 - 2:16am

Christopher Clark, an engineer turned whale biologist, wired the world's oceans with hydrophones. Whales sing as they migrate, he learned. And the ship sounds clouding the ocean can deeply interfere.

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Categories: Environment

Under the sea: the underwater farms growing basil, strawberries and lettuce

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2015/08/13 - 2:15am

Scuba divers and agricultural experts develop a project to work out if growing plants in pods on the seabed could be a viable solution to future food security

Beneath the blue waters 100m off the coast of Noli in northwest Italy lies a cluster of balloon-like pods pegged to the seabed by ropes half a dozen or so metres long. Inside a range of produce is being grown, including red cabbage, lettuce, beans basil and strawberries.

It may sound like something you’d find in a science fiction novel, but this is the work of Ocean Reef Group. With the help of agricultural experts, the Genova-based scuba diving company is applying its knowledge and technology to finding new ways to produce food.

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Categories: Environment

Global insurer Aviva warns of 'grave reputational risks' of Carmichael mine

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 11:47pm

President of Kiribati calls for immediate worldwide moratorium on new coalmines and expansions ahead of Paris climate talks

A major global insurer has warned of the “grave reputational risks” of bankrolling Adani’s huge Queensland coal project, as the vulnerable island nation of Kiribati has begun a diplomatic campaign to halt new coalmines worldwide.

The investment arm of UK-based Aviva, which manages assets worth $522bn, is the latest international financier to flag concerns over the Carmichael coalmine, which it said could become a “stranded asset” and was “the antithesis of what was needed” ahead of key UN climate talks in Paris in December.

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Categories: Environment

Three-day-old capybara cubs gets used to life at San Diego zoo – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 11:09pm

Four capybara cubs born on Monday receive their first routine check-ups at San Diego zoo on Wednesday. As well as being weighed and examined, a sample of their hair is also taken to help determine their sex. This is the sixth litter of cubs born to a capybara named Buttercup. At just three days old, the cubs already swim and walk on their own

Footage courtesy of San Diego zoo

Watch: GoPro camera captures Gung the elephant playing rugby at Taronga Zoo

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Categories: Environment

Rare Bryde's whale frees itself after being stranded in Great Barrier Reef

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 10:27pm

After several failed rescue attempts by wildlife officers, whale finds its own way out of the lagoon and back into the ocean

A whale has mysteriously freed itself after being stranded in a lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Bryde’s whale, rare for the area, was first spotted by a tourist on a scenic flight over Elford Reef, near Cairns, in June.

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Categories: Environment

Neighbourhood watch rumbles the raptor

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 9:30pm

Sandy Bedfordshire: The starlings’ tip-off came, a burst of chirping - and there was the sparrowhawk, overhead, wings swept back

All through this summer the best birdwatchers around have alerted me to the appearance of a sparrowhawk in the neighbourhood. Had I been a small bird I would have died eight or nine times since March, for, each time, I failed to see the predator coming.

It happened again the other morning in the market square: the tip-off came, as surely and identifiably as a personalised text message call on a mobile, a clear high volley of tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick calls.

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Categories: Environment

EPA Administrator Says Water Quality Is Improving In Contaminated Western Rivers

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 4:18pm

Gina McCarthy says toxic waste from last week's spill at the Gold King Mine is gone from water samples. But experts point to the contaminants that can still be stirred up from the riverbeds.

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Categories: Environment

Government will step in if councils don't fast-track fracking applications

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 4:01pm

New planning guidance gives local authorities 16 weeks to approve or reject planning applications, after which ministers can intervene on a decision

Ministers will intervene on planning applications for controversial fracking operations if local authorities fail to act quickly enough, the government announced on Thursday, in a bid to fast-track fracking.

Industry and the government have been frustrated at the slow rate of progress on exploratory fracking for shale gas and oil in the UK, which has been bogged down in the planning process. Ministers have been told that applications to drill and frack in Lancashire could be delayed by 16 months in an appeals process after they were rejected by Lancashire county council.

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Categories: Environment

Radioactive seas: how nuclear disasters help climate research – video

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 3:59pm

Nuclear accidents spell disaster for our environment. But researchers at the University of New South Wales use the radioactive material that travels through ocean currents as tracer elements to help them monitor CO2, which is contained in the ocean and travels along with the radioactive currents

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Categories: Environment

time change...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 3:55pm

My next leg appointment got bumped to next week which left a hole in the schedule.  Good excuse to solder up one of my new timer circuits for pepino.  Took about an hour to put everything in place, run a test, and place into service.  Changed the pump interval time from 9 seconds on / 4 minutes off to 14 seconds on / 3 minutes off.  Gained 2 degrees of cooling power.  90,97,71,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Water in Colorado county back to 'pre-event conditions' after toxic mining spill

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 3:17pm

EPA says water quality data shows Animas River water in La Plata County is back to normal but impact of heavy metal load in river sediment could last years

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said late Wednesday that data shows water quality in one affected Colorado county has “returned to pre-event conditions” following a toxic mining spill in the Animas River.

The Colorado department of public health and environment also said on Wednesday that people in the city of Durango can now drink water from the Animas River.

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Categories: Environment

Don't Worry, Honey, The Other Bees Have Your Back

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 3:03pm

Honeybees are major crop pollinators in the U.S., but they're in trouble. So researchers are now investigating how other bees could start picking up some of the slack.

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Categories: Environment

Los Angeles Unleashes 'Shade Balls' To Protect Reservoir Water Quality

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 2:01pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Richard Harasick, director of water operation at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, about the last batch of plastic balls launched to cover LA reservoir.

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Categories: Environment

Humans have already used up 2015's supply of Earth's resources – analysis

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 2:00pm

Earth ‘overshoot day’ – the day each year when our demands on the planet outstrip its ability to regenerate – comes six days earlier than 2014, with world’s population currently consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets a year

Humans have exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, according to an analysis of the demands the world’s population are placing on the planet.

The Earth’s “overshoot day” for 2015, the point at which humanity goes into ecological debt, will occur on Thursday six days earlier than last year, based on an estimate by the Global Footprint Network (GFN).

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Categories: Environment

Emissions target: lack of detailed policy a major concern, say business leaders

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 1:32pm

‘Trying to cost what they have on the table is really just grasping at straws. We need to start filling in the detail,’ says head of Australian Industry Group

Comment: why Tony Abbott’s climate ‘strategy’ won’t neutralise the environmental argument

Business leaders have said Tony Abbott has no detailed policies to meet his new climate change target and fear the uncertainty of the current “blank sheet of paper” on greenhouse policy could harm the economy and push up power prices.

The prime minister is arguing he can achieve the target to cut Australia’s emissions by 26% by 2030 more cheaply than Labor, even though neither major party has outlined a detailed or costed climate policy.

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Categories: Environment

Taking flight: Cape parrot identified as new species | @GrrlScientist

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 11:00am

The endangered cape parrot really is a distinct species, according to a newly-published molecular study -- a finding that could impact conservation decisions and strategies in South Africa for decades to come

The taxonomy of the Cape parrot, Poicephalus robustus robustus, has long been controversial, particularly amongst conservation biologists and policymakers. But today, a team of South African scientists published a study that agrees with previously published morphological, ecological, and behavioural assessments indicating that this taxon should be elevated to full species status. In this study, the authors analysed genetic data from five Poicephalus parrot species and found that the Cape parrot is genetically distinct from all of its closest relatives. This taxonomic revision could facilitate better planning and implementation of international and local conservation management strategies for protecting this critically endangered parrot.

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Categories: Environment

Animal faeces or carcass likely cause of water contamination scare

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 9:02am

More than 300,000 households in Lancashire still facing water restrictions as water watchdog investigates cause of cryptosporidium bug

The water contamination incident affecting more than 300,000 households in Lancashire could lead to criminal prosecutions according to a government watchdog, as experts said animal faeces or a dead carcass was most likely to blame.

Investigations are continuing into how traces of the Cryptosporidium bug found its way into a water treatment plant near Garstang, run by United Utilities.

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Categories: Environment

Can Shell afford Arctic oil? | Karl Mathiesen

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 8:47am

How much oil would make Shell’s controversial Arctic bid profitable? What would be the impact of a catastrophic oil spill? And can the venture succeed as the world adapts to climate change?

As Shell’s Polar Pioneer rig whirrs through the Chukchi sea bedrock this week, there’s a lot riding on what it finds.

This is the first time the Anglo-Dutch giant’s star-crossed Arctic programme will drill deep enough to hit oil. The company has reportedly spent $7bn (£4.5bn) on getting to this point, including replacing its prize Kulluk rig after it ran aground off Alaska in 2012. For them to gain any of this back, a number of things need to happen.

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Categories: Environment

Toxic sand and piles of litter: why we’ve stopped going to British beaches

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2015/08/12 - 7:21am
Beachgoing in the UK has dropped by 20% – small wonder when there are more faecal particles in the sand than in the muckiest sea

Have we stopped going to the beach? A National Trust survey says there has been a 20% reduction in visits to the coast. Apparently, people even prefer “urban beaches” – such as those in London and Sheffield. For a cyber generation, one can see how the fantasy or ersatz version might be better than the real thing. A blue screen is preferable to a blue horizon. All that sand in your sandwiches. Swarming jellyfish. Voracious, tortoise-murdering gulls. And cold water – I’ve lost count of the number of people who look at me as if I’m mad when I say I swim in the sea all year round, who proudly tell me they wouldn’t consider it even in the height of summer.

Maybe it’s an inverted class thing. The “hoi polloi”, used to flying off to European resorts or further afield, regard a British holiday as an admission of failure – leaving the coves of Cornwall to the likes of David Cameron and James Cracknell (who last weekend, along with his 11-year-old son, saved a grandfather and grandson from the Devonian waves).

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Categories: Environment
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