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'Bad news': radiation spikes 16 times above normal after forest fire near Chernobyl

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/04/05 - 4:06pm

The blaze started on Saturday close to the site of the world’s worst ever nuclear disaster, Ukrainian officials say

Ukraine has reported a spike in radiation levels in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, caused by a forest fire.

“There is bad news – radiation is above normal in the fire’s centre,” Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service, said on Facebook on Sunday.

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Categories: Environment

Households to be paid for daytime green electricity use during lockdown

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/04/05 - 6:33am

Fall in energy use combined with bright, breezy weather leads to lowest electricity prices in 10 years

Thousands of British homes will be paid to use electricity during the day for the first time, as wind and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Sunday morning, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up almost a fifth of the power system. Fossil fuels made up less than 15% of electricity, of which only 1.1% came from coal plants.

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Categories: Environment

Scottish fruit farmers recruit thousands of locals to save harvest

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/04/05 - 6:23am

Students and laid-off bar and restaurant workers given jobs as pickers after urgent appeal

Scottish fruit farmers have solved a recruitment crisis that could have resulted in this year’s harvest of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries being destroyed.

Several thousand people, including students and restaurant and bar workers laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak, have taken low-paid fruit-picking jobs in Tayside and Fife normally done by seasonal workers from Bulgaria and Romania.

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Categories: Environment

Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/04/05 - 2:14am

The oil industry saw its opening and moved with breathtaking speed to take advantage of this moment

I’m going to tell you the single worst story I’ve heard in these past few horrid months, a story that combines naked greed, political influence peddling, a willingness to endanger innocent human beings, utter blindness to one of the greatest calamities in human history and a complete disregard for the next crisis aiming for our planet. I’m going to try to stay calm enough to tell it properly, but I confess it’s hard.

The background: a decade ago, beginning with indigenous activists in Canada and farmers and ranchers in the American west and midwest, opposition began to something called the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to carry filthy tar sands oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. It quickly became a flashpoint for the fast-growing climate movement, especially after Nasa scientist James Hansen explained that draining those tar sands deposits would be “game over” for the climate system. And so thousands went to jail and millions rallied and eventually Barack Obama bent to that pressure and blocked the pipeline. Donald Trump, days after taking office, reversed that decision, but the pipeline has never been built, both because its builder, TC Energy, has had trouble arranging the financing and permits, and because 30,000 people have trained to do nonviolent civil disobedience to block construction. It’s been widely assumed that, should a Democrat win the White House in November, the project would finally be gone for good.

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Categories: Environment

plenty of time on my hands...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2020/04/04 - 3:16pm
Checking the serial number in the Elgin database, this movement I just got working again was manufactured in 1917 - one year before the great influenza pandemic of 1918.  60,69,53,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Fears for wildlife recovery after bushfires as coronavirus crisis stymies scientists’ fieldwork

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/04/04 - 1:00pm

Monitoring work suspended due to restrictions on travel and physical contact, in a blow for research into threatened species

Scientists are being forced to shut down or scale back fieldwork to assess the impact of last summer’s devastating bushfires on threatened species amid the coronavirus crisis, prompting concerns it could affect wildlife recovery.

Several universities have shut down fieldwork to comply with restrictions on travel and physical contact and government agencies working on the recovery have had to scale back some of their operations.

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Categories: Environment

Crossbreeding corals: the hunt for ways to heal the Great Barrier Reef

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/04/04 - 2:30am

Scientists, farmers and volunteers are looking for ways to lessen the impact of climate change as experts warn a third mass bleaching has taken place

  • Photographs by Jonas Gratzer

One of the dive instructors points out two blacktip reef sharks circling a docile green turtle busy grazing on algae. Stingrays of various sizes, colours and shapes pass beneath us. Suddenly, a pod of dolphins appears, swimming over the hard corals.

The dive takes place on what appears to be healthy and pristine coral reef surrounding Lady Elliot Island, at the very southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef off Queensland.

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Categories: Environment

Stinkbug invasion in Turkey threatens world hazelnut supplies

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/04/04 - 1:00am

Scientists race to halt spread of pungent insect species after it sweeps eight cities

The world’s hazelnut supplies could be threatened by a stinkbug that has recently invaded Turkey, scientists have warned.

The brown marmorated stinkbug, which is native to north-east Asia, has been spreading across the world in shipping containers, breeding freely thanks to warmer temperatures and a lack of natural predators.

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Categories: Environment

Naturalists flock to Chris Packham's DIY 'Springwatch' on Facebook

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 11:00pm

The presenter’s daily Self-Isolating Bird Club draws on wildlife footage caught by enthusiasts on mobile phones in their gardens. Packham calls it ‘Dad’s Army makes TV’

Lockdown day 10 in south-east London. A loud rhythmic tweeting is emanating from the cherry plum tree in my back garden. A great tit? Blue tit? I catch a glimpse; too small for a great tit, not as colourful.

I don’t know my birdsongs beyond the basics, but I remember a friend imitating calls to coax birds nearer so he could identify them. I have an idea and grab my phone and Google “coal tit song”. I press play and the rival tweeting produces instant results. Hopping from branch to branch towards me a delightful but agitated coal tit emerges and alights on a branch barely two metres away (I think it knows). Is it angry or amorous? My exhilaration at our proximity turns to doubt and guilt – I’ve used gadgetry to disrupt the natural world. What was I thinking? The coal tit flies off, its song tinged with irritation.

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Categories: Environment

watch this...

The Field Lab - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 12:03pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Almost half of all shareholders at Santos AGM back stronger emissions target

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 12:00pm

Activists says resolution shows strong support for fossil fuel companies to set limits on their own emissions and those that result from their products

Oil and gas giant Santos faces increased pressure over its stance on climate change after nearly half its shareholders backed resolutions that it should strengthen emissions targets and review its membership of fossil fuel lobby groups.

Ethical investor group the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility said the level of support for a shareholder-led climate resolution was unprecedented, and showed large institutional investors had “woken up to the damage a growing gas industry is wreaking on the planet”.

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Categories: Environment

Australian news: stories you may have missed during the coronavirus crisis

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 12:00pm

High court to hand down George Pell verdict, water flows into the Menindee Lakes and Victoria renews logging

As Australia’s coronavirus outbreak continues – but with the cautious optimism of a slowing rate of infection – a lot of important news has slipped under the radar.

Here are the stories you may have missed over the past week.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 9:26am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a veiled chameleon and other animals enjoying the quieter streets

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Categories: Environment

HS2 wood clearance to go ahead as Chris Packham legal bid fails

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/04/03 - 7:34am

High court has decided there was ‘no real prospect of success’ for judicial review

The clearing of ancient woods for HS2 is to proceed this month after the high court refused an emergency injunction and judicial review of the government’s decision to proceed with the high-speed railway.

HS2’s felling of woodlands in spring when birds are nesting has been widely condemned by wildlife charities but the conservationist Chris Packham’s attempt to halt “enabling” works was rejected after the court decided there was “no real prospect of success” for a judicial review.

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Categories: Environment

In the mail today...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2020/04/02 - 1:59pm
12 broken pocket watch movements.  After close examination, 4 are pretty much worthless, 5 are good for parts, and 3 show some promise of working again as is.  But I am going to have to tear them down / clean all the parts / and reassemble them.  My watchmaker toolkit arrives next week.  Anyone have an ultrasonic cleaner they would like to donate to TFL?  83,92,68,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Decision to renew Victorian logging agreements criticised after summer bushfires

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/04/02 - 9:30am

Conservationists call on the state to explain how it will boost wildlife protection in the wake of devastating fires

A federal and Victorian government decision to extend agreements that exempt the logging industry from conservation laws has sparked calls for the state to explain how it will boost wildlife protection in the wake of the summer’s devastating bushfires.

The state government posted five updated regional forest agreements (RFAs), covering native forest logging in different parts of the state, online late on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

'We must use this time well': climate experts hopeful after Cop26 delay

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/04/02 - 5:01am

Moving summit gives world time to respond to coronavirus and may allow a new US leader to join talks

Green campaigners and climate leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments around the world to make stringent new commitments on the climate crisis, as a vital UN climate summit was delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cop26 talks were scheduled to take place this November in Glasgow, but the UK hosts won a delay on Wednesday night from the UN and other nations, after weeks of speculation the talks would be cancelled.

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Categories: Environment

Pandemic Delays International Climate Change Negotiations

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2020/04/02 - 3:45am

Many countries were expected to release ambitious new climate plans at a conference this fall, but United Nations officials say governments are focusing on the coronavirus crisis.

(Image credit: Francois Guillot/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Secret footage shows calves from Ireland beaten and kicked in France

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/04/02 - 12:00am

Video by activists appears to show cruel treatment of weeks-old cattle transported on long journeys to Europe for veal

Footage which appears to show Irish calves being beaten and kicked at a French feeding station has been published by animal campaign groups.

The video, published by Eyes on Animals (EoA) and French welfare organisation L214, appears to show workers repeatedly beating calves that are a few weeks old with sticks. One is kicked and another is dragged away, unable to stand. The calf was euthanised by a vet, said an EoA observer.

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Categories: Environment

'Thank you Greta': natural solutions to UK flooding climb the agenda

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2020/04/01 - 11:30pm

People are increasingly looking to restore the soil’s ability to retain water, planting trees and hedges, and creating relief channels to tackle the recurring threat of high waters

There is ponding on nearly every field in the valley where the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy meet on the English-Welsh border. Swollen rivers have been sluggishly sitting in the valley for months. Inhabitants’ attempts to protect their homes from flooding are part of a losing battle played out across the country.

The UK’s flooding this year is a story of desperation – but also hope, says John Hughes, development manager at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, who works in the valley. Following widespread acceptance of the climate and ecological emergency, Hughes believes people are increasingly looking to nature for solutions.

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Categories: Environment
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