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An earthworm: when you are a child, these are an enormous part of your world | Helen Sullivan

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/04/17 - 8:00am

To get earthworms for fishing, people do a thing called ‘worm grunting’

An article on earthworms published in the New York Times in 1881 – “Habits of earth-worms: The curious work which they accomplish” – describes a helminth British empire. “In England they abound in the fields, in the paved courts of houses, though they are rarer in bog fields,” the author writes. “Worm castings have been found as high as 1,500 feet in the Scotch hills and at great altitudes in south India, and on the Himalaya mountains. Both in the extremes of a climate like England and in very hot weather, worms cease their work.”

Earthworms are hermaphrodites, which the journalist, all the way back in 1881, expresses in a glittering sentence: “Two sexes unite in one individual but two individuals pair”.

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Categories: Environment

Toxic PFAS chemicals used in packaging can end up in food, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/04/17 - 1:00am

Compostable packaging is popular for environmental reasons, but it can be treated with ‘forever chemicals’ linked to health problems

A group of toxic PFAS chemicals that industry has claimed is safe to use in food packaging are concerning and present a health threat because they can break off and end up in food and drinks, a new peer-reviewed study finds.

The subgroup of PFAS, called “fluorotelomers”, have been billed as a safe replacement for a first generation of PFAS compounds now largely phased out of production in the US, Canada and the EU because of their high toxicity.

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Categories: Environment

What happened after US police teargassed protesters – a visual investigation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2023/04/17 - 12:00am

A groundbreaking analysis reveals how Portland, Oregon, was blanketed with toxic chemicals, raising concerns about global teargas use: ‘This was a disaster’

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Categories: Environment

How to tag a rhino? Use tech, tact … and plenty of caution – a photo essay

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2023/04/16 - 11:00pm

Fewer than 2,000 rhino remain in Kenya, and the country’s wildlife service needs to keep tabs on them to make sure they thrive. It’s a major undertaking, involving a helicopter, 4x4s and a lot of rangers

Words and photographs by Peter Muiruri

Kenya has the world’s third largest rhinoceros population: a total of 1,890 including 966 black rhinos, 922 southern white and two northern white. But how to keep track of them and ensure the species are thriving? Every two or three years, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) carries out an ear-notching exercise in all rhino sanctuaries in the country to ensure that at least 60% of the animals are uniquely identifiable.

An ear-notch is a pattern unique to an individual rhino within a specific ecosystem that helps rangers and researchers keep accurate records and monitor the rhino’s health.

Here comes a chopper … a helicopter is used to dart the highly aggressive black rhino

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Categories: Environment

Discovered in the deep: the squid that sees both ways at once

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2023/04/16 - 10:00pm

Living in the twilight zone, cockeye squid float between two worlds and have adapted to keep an eye on both

Cockeye squid face a conundrum. Living hundreds of metres underwater, they float in between two worlds. Above them is the surface ocean, where a dim blue fraction of sunlight filters down. Below them is the deep sea, sunless and black. Which way to look?

Their mismatched eyes solve the problem – by letting them gaze into both worlds at once.

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Categories: Environment

Labor’s ‘quite ambitious’ electric vehicle strategy expected to be released this week

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/04/15 - 5:00pm

Chris Bowen is expected to introduce an EV and vehicle fuel efficiency standards policy this week

Australia’s long-awaited national electric vehicle strategy is expected to be released this week, finally detailing the introduction of pollution standards that should accelerate the uptake of electric cars.

Industry sources say the federal climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, will release the strategy ahead of an event in western Sydney on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

Avian superhighway: UK’s ‘pitstop’ for migrating birds seeks Unesco status

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/04/15 - 4:00am

East Atlantic Flyway in England takes first step to becoming world heritage site alongside global wonders including the Galápagos and Kilimanjaro

High over the Essex coast, an ancient battle of life and death is playing out: a peregrine falcon scans the ground at Old Hall Marshes nature reserve where lapwings guard their nests. A “deceit” (the collective noun for lapwings), bolts into the air to chase away the bird of prey. The furious group of expecting parents nip at the falcon’s feathers until it loses interest.

“This is probably the wildest part of Essex,” says Kieren Alexander, the RSPB site manager, scanning the wetlands with his binoculars for more skirmishes after the lapwings settle.

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Categories: Environment

Lack of NI government puts net zero targets at risk, UK climate adviser warns

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2023/04/15 - 12:00am

Climate Change Committee says little hope of getting on track if Stormont power sharing not restored soon

The prolonged lack of devolved government in Northern Ireland threatens to seriously hamper the country’s ability to hit the ambitious emissions reduction targets enshrined by law in its climate act, the chief executive of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said.

There has been no power-sharing government in place to advance work on meeting these commitments since Northern Ireland’s Climate Change Act, which includes a 2050 net zero target, was passed last spring.

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Categories: Environment

Man charged with foreign interference to remain behind bars until Monday – as it happened

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/04/14 - 8:44pm

The 55-year-old businessman appeared via video link at Parramatta magistrates court. This blog is now closed

‘Really disturbing footage’: David Pocock responds to gas seep video

Senator David Pocock has called the video showing large methane gas bubbles active on the surface of Queensland’s Condamine River “really disturbing footage”.

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Categories: Environment

Turning out the lights: what is the legacy of the Liddell power station?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/04/14 - 8:00am

In the first of a two-part report, we look at the successes – and the costs – of what once was Australia’s largest power station

Jackson Channon, an electrician at the Liddell power station, counts “three generations of generation” who worked at the Hunter Valley site, including a grandad who drove cement trucks used to build it and parents who first met while on staff.

Come 29 April, Channon will attend the closure of the AGL Energy coal-fired facility, joining hundreds of current and former staff, community members and even artists marking the end of what was Australia’s biggest power plant when it was built 52 years ago.

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Categories: Environment

‘Like a boiling broth’: concerns after video of gas seep in Queensland river emerges

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/04/14 - 8:00am

Exclusive: Origin Energy says it has monitored the bubbling water since 2015, along with other seep locations

New video showing Queensland’s Condamine River “bubbling like a boiling broth” has raised alarm that methane seeps into the waterway are more widespread than previously revealed, amid the continued ramp-up of coal-seam gas drilling in the Darling Downs.

The footage, released on Saturday by environmental group Lock the Gate, shows large methane gas bubbles active on the surface of the river. The group says the phenomenon was filmed at a section of river more than 1km from where similar bubbles have been observed since 2012, prompting a decade of scientific investigation.

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Categories: Environment

Biden approves Alaska gas exports as critics condemn another ‘carbon bomb’

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/04/14 - 7:52am

Energy department gives green light to exports from liquefied natural gas program, after Willow project approved last month

The Biden administration on Thursday approved exports of liquefied natural gas from the Alaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, a document showed, prompting criticism from environmental groups over the approval of another “carbon bomb”.

The US energy department approved Alaska Gasline Development Corp’s (AGDC) project to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement, mainly in Asia. Backers of the roughly $39bn project expect it to be operational by 2030 if it receives the required permits.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2023/04/14 - 12:00am

The best of this week’s wildlife photographs, including a green forest lizard, gentoo penguins and a wild beaver

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Categories: Environment

Sandstorms cover China, South Korea and Thailand in a yellow blanket of dust – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/04/13 - 9:48pm

Sandstorms whipped up from the Gobi desert have spread from northern China to Thailand and South Korea and as far east as Japan, causing a reduction in visibility and an increase in respiratory illness. There have been four sandstorms in the space of a month in China this year

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Categories: Environment

More than 7,500 days’ worth of raw sewage dumped in ministers’ constituencies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/04/13 - 2:30pm

Labour analysis shows that raw sewage was discharged into cabinet ministers’ constituencies for 180,759 hours last year

More than 7,500 days’ worth of raw sewage was dumped in the constituencies of cabinet ministers last year, an analysis has found.

The Yorkshire seat of the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was third on the leaderboard, with 3,455 dumping events, lasting 20,615 hours, Labour party analysis has found.

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Categories: Environment

From desert to wonderland: images show California’s striking superbloom

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/04/13 - 12:45pm

The parched state’s landscape is peppered with magnificent red, orange and yellow blooms that can be seen from space

California’s superblooms this year are so lush and so exuberant that they can be seen from space.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies, a Colorado-based company, show striking images of bright orange, red, yellow and purple blooms across southern California.

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Categories: Environment

Coral-eating fish faeces may act as ‘probiotics’ for reefs, says study

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/04/13 - 10:22am

Corallivorous fish were regarded as harmful to coral but research suggests their poo could be keeping reefs healthy

The faeces of coral-eating fish may act as “probiotics” for reefs, according to a study.

Previously it was thought that corallivore – fish such as pufferfish, parrotfish and butterfly fish that eat coral – weakened marine surfaces. But new research suggests that by eating some parts of the coral and then pooing in different areas of the reef, they are part of a cycle that redistributes beneficial microbes that can help coral thrive.

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Categories: Environment

UK bird numbers continue to crash as government poised to break own targets

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2023/04/13 - 4:21am

Data shows 48% of species declined between 2015 and 2020 with woodland birds faring worst

Bird populations in the UK continue to crash, new data shows, as campaigners predict the government will fail to meet its own nature targets unless radical changes are made.

Statistics released by the government show that bird populations continue to decline in the long and short term. In 2021, on average the abundance of 130 breeding species was 12% below its 1970 value. Though much of this loss was between the late 1970s and the late 1980s, caused mostly by relatively steep declines in woodland and farmland birds, there was still a significant 5% decrease between 2015 and 2020.

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Categories: Environment

Australia’s resources minister heaps warm praise on gas as industry PR spree masks doubts about future | Temperature Check

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/04/12 - 6:43pm

Madeleine King says gas can help decarbonise the economy but not even big users of the fossil fuel are convinced

The words from the resources minister, Madeleine King, must have felt like a comforting salve to Australia’s gas industry.

In a speech last week in Western Australia, King told resource industry figures in Perth that gas would be indispensable as Australia and the region decarbonised.

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Categories: Environment

Calls for action on Colombia’s hippo scourge after animal dies in road crash

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2023/04/12 - 1:59pm

Dead creature was one of 150 descendants of four hippos imported by drug baron Pablo Escobar in 1980s

Colombia has logged its first hippopotamus-caused road traffic accident after a car crashed into one of the animals at high speed, leaving the vehicle mangled and the two-tonne mammal lying lifeless and bloodied across a highway.

The hippo was declared dead soon after the crash on Tuesday night in the municipality of Doradal on a highway connecting the cities of Bogotá and Medellín, local environmental authorities said.

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Categories: Environment
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