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A Tale Of Four Famines

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/05/17 - 8:06am

Climate and conflict have left millions with little to no access to food in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen.

(Image credit: TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Pesticide that Trump's EPA refused to ban blamed for sickening farm workers

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/17 - 4:00am

Nearly 50 farm workers experienced nausea and vomiting apparently caused by a pesticide whose scheduled ban was overturned by the Trump administration

A pesticide that was set to be banned before the Trump administration reversed course has been blamed for causing sickness to nearly 50 farm workers who were exposed to the chemical in California.

Spraying of Vulcan, a brand name chemical, on an orchard southwest of Bakersfield led to the pesticide drifting to a neighboring property operated by Dan Andrews Farms. A total of 47 farm workers were harvesting cabbage at the time and subsequently complained of a bad odor, nausea and vomiting. One was taken to hospital with four other workers visiting doctors in the following days.

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Categories: Environment

Whitley Awards for nature conservation 2017 winners – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/05/17 - 3:50am

Finalists for his year’s prestigious ‘green Oscars’ include a Turkish conservationist working with fisherman to create a marine reserve and a woman partnering with prisoners to protect the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo

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Categories: Environment

Panic over the red devils threatening to strip Tunisia of its grand palm trees

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 11:00pm

A red palm weevil infestation is decimating trees and posing a threat to the country’s date crop, a mainstay of the fragile economy

It’s an unlikely but very real crisis for a country with a teetering economy: a tiny red devil is invading Tunisia and it could cost hundreds of thousands of people their livelihoods.

Morched Garbouj, president of a Tunisian environmental group, smiled as he told the popular legend of how the red palm weevil first arrived in Tunisia. “Some people say that it was the former dictator Ben Ali’s son-in-law who brought it here. He was known for bringing in exotic animals, exotic trees, that kind of thing.” He points to the fact that the area suffering the greatest devastation is in Carthage, around the presidential palace. “Well, maybe it’s true!”

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Categories: Environment

Fossil fuel lobby could be forced to declare interests at UN talks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 10:33pm

Developing countries score significant victory for greater transparency from outside parties at UN climate negotiations

A push from developing countries to force fossil fuel lobbyists taking part in UN climate talks to declare their conflicts of interest has won a significant battle against resistance from the world’s biggest economies including the European Union, US and Australia.

The UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) has agreed to enhance “openness and transparency” for outside parties and will accept submissions from any stakeholder – which could be any person or group affected by climate change or climate change policy – on how it could do so.

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Categories: Environment

Mersey feat: world's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 10:30pm

UK cements its position as global leader in wind technology as increasing scale drives down costs

The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology.

Danish company Dong Energy has just finished installing 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay that are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses. Dong Energy, the windfarm’s developer, believes these machines herald the future for offshore wind power: bigger, better and, most importantly, cheaper.

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Categories: Environment

Tank-like oil beetle hauls out to the highway

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 9:30pm

Dartmoor A lone traveller, the beetle made progress, jointed legs paddling the ground as it hefted its giant abdomen onward

At the western edge of Dartmoor high terrain that rises in exposed granite peaks gives way to the gentle swell of undulating farmland. Step from rough ground over the cattle grids that mark the national park perimeter and the verges become thick with vegetation.

In warm weather the roadside flowers are busy with flying insects, and I take lazy pleasure in knowing such diversity is beyond my naming abilities.

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Categories: Environment

Struggling Nuclear Industry Lobbies State Governments For Help

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 1:30pm

The nuclear industry is struggling with aging plants and competition from cheaper natural gas. Now, touting itself as another form of "clean" energy, it's lobbying state lawmakers for help.

(Image credit: John S. Zeedick/AP)

Categories: Environment

Check out the fussy falcons of Nottingham | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 11:36am
Electoral register and young people | Typefaces | Nottingham’s peregrines | Names for grandparents | 35mm film canisters

Warnings about young people dropping off the electoral register were issued a long time ago (Report, 15 May). The next government needs to take swift action and automatically register 16-year-olds when they receive their national insurance number. Policies were set out last year by the all-party parliamentary party in its report on the Missing Millions and have cross-party support. Urgent action is needed so that next generation of citizens are included in the democratic process.
Dr Toby James
Senior fellow to the all-party parliamentary group on democratic participation, University of East Anglia 

• Mrs May’s battlebus has lettering in the Swiss typeface Akzidenz. Voters may wish that Akzidenz will happen (but it doesn’t translate so helpfully). Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche uses the British Gill Italic, which leans to the right. Read the runes.
Richard Hollis

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Categories: Environment

Wild boar gives British ambassador to Austria a scare

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 9:14am

Envoy recounts being charged at by ‘massive’ specimen, resulting in minor injuries as he slipped during his escape

Britain’s ambassador to Austria has generally been given a warm welcome, but a local wild boar appeared to have little time for diplomatic niceties. Leigh Turner, who took up the post last August, has revealed that while walking in woods near Vienna earlier this month, he was chased by a “massive” specimen and sustained minor injuries.

Turning a corner, Turner found himself face-to-face with a group of “four or five hulking adults and countless piglets”. He turned and walked away slowly. “Moments later I hear a noise behind me like a galloping horse, and turn to see a massive wild boar, head down, charging straight at me,” Turner recounted on his blog.

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Categories: Environment

Billionaire Bloomberg to fund $5m public health projects in 40 cities worldwide

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 5:30am

Exclusive: Melbourne, Accra and Ulaanbaatar among cities to benefit from funding pledged by former New York mayor to tackle issues from air pollution to obesity

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire bête noire of both the sugar industry and the tobacco industry, famously fought for a ban on the sale of large-sized colas and other sweet drinks when he was mayor of New York and lost. Although that is not how he sees it.

“We actually won that battle,” he says. “I have always thought if we had not been stopped by the court, it would have died as an issue. Nobody would have known about it. But the fact that it kept coming back to the newspapers was a gift in disguise because people started to think, Holy God, maybe full-sugar drinks are bad for me.

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Categories: Environment

Chinese appetite for totoaba fish bladder kills off rare porpoise

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 3:05am

Only 30 vaquita are left in Gulf of California as pirate fishermen net them when fishing for highly valued totoaba maws

The world’s rarest marine mammal is on the verge of extinction due to the continuing illegal demand in China for a valuable fish organ, an undercover investigation has revealed.

There are no more than 30 vaquita – a five-foot porpoise – left in the northern Gulf of California today and they could be extinct within months, conservationists have warned. The population has been all but eradicated by pirate fishermen catching the large totoaba fish and killing the vaquita in the process.

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Categories: Environment

UK faces sharp rise in wind storms and higher bills as world warms

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 3:03am

Data models show UK to be at mercy of fiercer winds and insurers call for action to reinforce buildings

The UK is set to reap the whirlwind of climate change with the huge damage caused by wind storms expected to increase sharply, according to new analysis.

Even the minimum global warming now expected – just 1.5C – is projected to raise the cost of windstorm destruction by more than a third in parts of the country. If climate change heats the world even further, broken roofs and damaged buildings are likely to increase by over 50% across a swathe of the nation.

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Categories: Environment

NY Times’ Stephens can’t see the elephant in the room on climate change | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 3:00am

Hint: the elephant is the obstructionist political party’s symbol

There was tremendous outcry when the New York Times hired opinion columnist Bret Stephens, who has a long history of making misinformed comments about climate change. Stephens didn’t assuage those fears when he devoted his first column to punching hippies, absurdly suggesting that our lack of progress on climate policy is a result of greens being too mean to climate deniers.

Stephens lamentably stayed on the subject of climate change in his second and third Times columns as well. In those pieces, he used corn-based ethanol subsidies as an example of where climate policy has gone wrong:

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Categories: Environment

10 years of Ciwem Environmental Photographer of the Year – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 2:53am

The Chartered Institution for Water and Environmental Management (Ciwem) Photographer of the Year competition was set up 10 years ago to chronicle human impact on the natural environment. The 2017 competition launches this week and judges include Stephen Fry, Ben Fogle and Steve Backshall

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Categories: Environment

Toxic timebomb: why we must fight back against the world's plague of plastic | Jennifer Lavers and Alexander Bond

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 1:44am

We must reduce our dependence on plastics, especially single-use items, and seek out alternative materials

38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island

It’s everywhere. From the Mariana Trench to the floor of the Arctic Ocean, on tropical beaches and polar coasts. It’s in wildlife, seafood, sea salt and even on the surface of Mars. The world is blighted by plastic. Up to 12m tonnes of the stuff enters the world’s oceans every year (that’s one new tonne of plastic every three to 10 seconds) and it doesn’t go to that magical place called “away”.

Once in the oceans, it can float around for years, or even decades, before being swallowed by a bird or a whale. During that time, it can travel tens of thousands of kilometres, all the while absorbing contaminants from the sea water, concentrating them like a sponge. When wildlife ingest plastic, the brew of toxic chemicals can be transferred to the animal’s tissues with potentially dangerous consequences.

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Categories: Environment

38m pieces of plastic found on uninhabited Henderson Island – video report

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/05/16 - 1:03am

Henderson Island in the South Pacific Ocean is believed to be one of the world’s worst polluted places. Australian scientists say they found its beaches littered with about 38m pieces of plastic during an investigation in 2015. The island is in the path of the South Pacific Gyre, an ocean current known for its accumulation of plastic debris

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Categories: Environment

Down with the bilberry bees

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/15 - 9:30pm

Buxton, Derbyshire They look like animate furry fruit bonbons. The queens hatch late and their preferred food is bilberry and heather

After the most rainless spring that I can recall, the vegetation on the moor tops is frazzled to an August tinder. The full sweep of folded slopes look grey rather than the usual heathery brown, and even the deepest gullies are dry bottomed and crunchy underfoot. Yet the strong north-easterlies have kept the entire season freeze-dried, and there are almost no swallows through the blue overhead, while the pipits, parachuting down in song display, whose notes are flat at best of times, were picked to desultory shreds by the currents of cold air.

It was so dry that I could at least lie among the bilberry bushes to escape the wind and there, in a condition of enforced sloth, I chanced upon a search method for the creature I’d come to see.

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Categories: Environment

Large-scale solar industry takes off as 12 new plants secure finance

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/05/15 - 7:28pm

Support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has helped put large-scale solar on a solid footing despite cuts to its own funding

Australia’s large-scale solar industry now appears to be on solid ground, with all 12 plants recently awarded grant funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency reaching “financial close” this month.

That means they are fully financed and have locked in engineering, construction and grid connection agreements, as well as council and environmental approvals.

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Categories: Environment

How YouTube works...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2017/05/15 - 5:14pm
There is no doubt that I got really lucky with the bucket.  Kind of ironic that getting a video to go viral was on my bucket list when I started concentration on my YouTube channel at the beginning of the year.  My 15 minutes of YouTube fame for this shot is just about over now and the media frenzy is fading fast - but I was able to score a little over a thousand bucks in ad revenue for my effort as well as a deal with GoPro worth another thousand (FYI - I didn't get the drone deal I was looking for from them because they are in such high demand right now but they sweetened the deal with $500 cash + a GoPro Hero 5 Black + a Karma Grip).  The reason that YouTube is such a tough nut to crack when it comes to making money is that it takes A LOT OF VIEWS to earn much of anything.  The payout rate at my level of subscribers and popularity is only about twenty five cents per 1,000 monetized views - top channels can make as much as $4 per 1,000 monetized views.  It is also very tricky how YouTube decides what views get counted.  Up until this viral hit, I had only earned about 40 bucks total from all the 27 other videos I have posted so far this year.  To put it in perspective, my channel would need to consistently get about 2,500,000 monetized views per month just to cover my health insurance premium.
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