Environment

'Not ashamed': dolphin hunters of Taiji break silence over film The Cove

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 9:32pm

Members of the tiny Japanese community, which was vilified in the 2009 documentary, speak to the Guardian about fishing and their way of life

Taiji is still in darkness when a dozen men gather at the quayside and warm themselves over a brazier. While the rest of the town sleeps, they sip from cans of hot coffee, smoke cigarettes and talk in hushed tones.

As soon as the sun edges above the peninsula, they take to their boats, steering out to sea in formation in search of their prey: the dolphin.

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Categories: Environment

Bird keepers at Sydney's Taronga zoo name their favourite Australian birds – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 9:00pm

As the result of the bird of the year poll is made public, Taronga keepers Brendan Host, Lille Madden, Ashleigh Page, Mark Domenici, Leanne Golebiowski and Michael Shiels select their favourites

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Categories: Environment

North Atlantic right whales on the brink of extinction, officials say

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 5:56pm

Fishing nets and lack of food blamed for pushing number of the world’s most endangered marine animal to just 450

Officials with the US federal government say it is time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them.

North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest marine mammals in the world, and they have endured a deadly year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said there are only about 450 of the whales left and 17 of them have died so far in 2017.

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Conspiracy theories and celebrity endorsements: how bird of the year played out online

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 5:31pm

The white ibis provoked strong feelings on Twitter throughout the three-week campaign, and the result was never going to please everyone

The three-week campaign to select Australia’s bird of the year has been bitterly fought out on social media, and Monday’s result provoked another round of celebration and recriminations.

Swooping in with an incredible 19,926 votes, of a total of almost 150,000, the Australian magpie took the title, having quietly gained ground over the white ibis (19,083), which had a commanding early lead.

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Categories: Environment

Wales is second best household waste recycler in the world

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 5:01pm

Eco-friendly policies place country second to Germany but England lags far behind other countries according to new research

Wales ranks second in the world for recycling household waste but England lags far behind other European countries, according to new research.

Policies brought in by the Welsh government and a target to be zero waste by 2050 have driven the country up the league table to come in just under Germany. With recycling rates of 63.8% for municipal solid waste, which includes household plastic and other packaging, Wales is set to become the world leader for recycling by next year, according to a report from the environmental analysts Eunomia.

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Categories: Environment

Magpie edges out white ibis and kookaburra as Australian bird of the year

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 4:54pm

Top three birds all backed by more than 10,000 votes in Guardian Australia and BirdLife Australia poll that attracted 150,000 votes

Australian bird of the year results – as it happened

The Australian magpie has been crowned Australian bird of the year for 2017, upsetting the early favourite, the white ibis, and winning 13.3% of the vote.

The magpie received 19,926 votes, followed by the Australian white ibis with 19,083 votes and the laughing kookaburra with 10,953 votes.

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Categories: Environment

Magpie wins Australian bird of the year poll – as it happened

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 4:40pm

Australian magpie pips the ibis and laughing kookaburra in the Guardian Australia/BirdLife Australia poll after weeks of controversy, a powerful owl voting hack and a strong #teambinchicken social media push

11.28pm GMT

There is a magpie carolling outside my window, calling time on our live coverage of the 2017 Australian bird of the year vote. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic campaigning for our avian friends. We really do have an astonishing variety of birds in Australia and we should celebrate them more often.

I will leave you with some soothing words from Dr John Martin for the ibis lobby, who are still smarting from their shock loss this morning.

Their colonisation of urban areas, and associated shift to a fast-food diet, is a remarkable example of their adaptability …

Truly, if you asked anyone a month ago if the Australian white ibis would come second in a popular vote as the bird of the year I struggle to imagine even one person seriously predicting this result. I would have said it was unlikely to place in the top 50. This is a stunning result.

Related: The mighty ibis did not win Australian bird of the year but it's still a winner | John Martin

11.20pm GMT

More scenes from behind the scenes of the bird of the year vote.

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Categories: Environment

Magpies: how I learnt to grudgingly admire – and then love – the bird of the year | Paul Daley

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 4:30pm

They’re feared for their fierce protection of sovereignty and dive-bombing trespassers, but all is forgiven listening to a pair of magpies warbling in a gumtree

Anodyne eastern suburbs Melbourne seemed less dangerous than any other place in the world when I was a primary school kid.

There was the creek with its tadpoles, turtles and occasional foxes. There was, inevitably, a local haunted house. And there was the path.

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Categories: Environment

The mighty ibis did not win Australian bird of the year but it's still a winner | John Martin

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 3:50pm

It fell short of victory by a few hundred votes. For a bin chicken, that’s something to celebrate

What happened? Am I missing something, do people actually “like” ibis? I know they didn’t win, but hell, they came second – that’s a win for the bin chicken, surely?!

I like ibis, and I’ve occasionally met people who admit to liking ibis, but overwhelmingly I hear and read comments from people expressing that they do not like ibis. Despite this, the Australian white ibis has become an icon – to individuals, music, documentaries and government. It’s revered by our modern society like its cousin the Sacred Ibis was in ancient Egypt as the god Thoth. Of course, in this instance my interpretation of the word “revered” includes being the butt of many, many jokes and even more memes.

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Categories: Environment

Australian bird of the year 2017: the top 10 – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 2:11pm

So how did your feathered favourite fare? Meet the winners of the 2017 Guardian Australia/BirdLife Australia bird of the year poll. After weeks of controversy, argument over the voting system and at least one hack, the results are in. There's been plenty of colour but here's the result in black and white …

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Categories: Environment

Delays causing needless exposure to dangerous toxins in Australia, advocates say

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 10:01am

A process to review air pollution standards for two toxins began two years ago but consultations are only just starting

Australians are being placed at risk by stalled government action on two dangerous pollutants mainly emitted by coal-fired power stations, environmental experts have warned.

Air pollution places a significant burden on the health of Australians, causing 3,000 deaths each year and a mortality cost of between $11bn and $24bn, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

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Categories: Environment

Northern Territory land-clearing approvals increase nearly tenfold

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 10:00am

Exclusive: environmental groups call on government to freeze land-clearing permits and enforce stricter controls

Australia’s deforestation and land-clearing crisis is spreading from the east coast to the Northern Territory, where land targeted for clearing has increased nearly tenfold in just a few years, with applications approved for enormous amounts of clearing in the past two years.

Vast tracts of land are set to be stripped of native vegetation, with the trees burned, and regrowth controlled with toxic chemicals, in the jurisdiction with limited environmental oversight. On one station alone, an area about one-fifth the size of the ACT is planned to be cleared, most of it intended to allow more cattle to be run.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's greenhouse gas emissions highest on record

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 10:00am

Exclusive: Renewable energy and proper climate policy are key to dropping emissions, carbon consultancy chief says

Australia’s emissions over the past year were the highest on record, when relatively unreliable emissions from land use are excluded, according to estimates by the carbon consultancy NDEVR Environmental.

Greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise in recent quarters, with the most recent the second highest for any quarter since 2011, despite electricity emissions being driven down by wind generation.

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Categories: Environment

North Atlantic right whales could become extinct, US officials say

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 6:49am
  • Noaa scientist: ‘You do have to use the extinction word’
  • Study suggests whales leave protected areas to feed

US federal officials say it is time to consider the possibility that North Atlantic right whales could become extinct, unless new steps are taken to protect them.

Related: North Atlantic’s greatest survivors are hunted once more

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Categories: Environment

How 311 Helped Understand Air Pollution After Harvey

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/12/10 - 5:46am

NPR has obtained recordings of calls made by Houston residents fearful about putrid odors in the hours and days after Hurricane Harvey started flooding the city's petrochemical infrastructure.

Categories: Environment

As Britain’s birdlife takes flight, skies of my youth are changing for ever

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/12/09 - 5:05pm
Birds that were once rare visitors to Britain are becoming a regular sight in England, but in Scotland, Arctic species are likely to vanish

Even though almost half a century has passed, I can still recall in vivid detail the events of a hot, sunny afternoon in August 1970. My mother and I were visiting Brownsea Island, off the Dorset coast. We entered a dark hide, opened the window and looked out across the lagoon. And there – shining like a beacon – was a Persil-white apparition: my first little egret.

Back then, this ghostly member of the heron family was a very rare visitor to Britain. Nowadays, little egrets are so numerous that we hardly give them a second glance. On my local patch, the Avalon Marshes in the heart of Somerset, I have seen up to 60 in a single feeding flock. And, according to the magazine British Birds, there are now more than 1,000 breeding pairs, as far north as the Scottish border.

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Categories: Environment

Footage of starving polar bear exposes climate change impact – video

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/12/09 - 6:26am

Video filmed in the Canadian Arctic provides graphic evidence of the impact of climate change on polar bears in the region, showing an emaciated animal scrounging for food on ice-free land. The footage was recorded by the conservation group Sea Legacy during a late summer expedition in Baffin Island. 'My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear,' the photographer Paul Nicklen wrote on social media.

'Soul-crushing' video of starving polar bear exposes climate crisis, experts say

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Categories: Environment

Recycling Chaos In U.S. As China Bans 'Foreign Waste'

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/12/09 - 6:00am

The U.S. ships a big chunk of its recycled goods to China. But China doesn't want them anymore, and that's leaving the recycling industry in turmoil.

(Image credit: Jes Burns/OPB/EarthFix)

Categories: Environment

'Soul-crushing' video of starving polar bear exposes climate crisis, experts say

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/12/08 - 4:27pm

Footage from Canada’s Arctic shows emaciated animal seeking food in scene that left researchers ‘pushing through their tears’

Video footage captured in Canada’s Arctic has offered a devastating look at the impact climate change is having on polar bears in the region, showing an emaciated bear clinging to life as it scrounged for food on iceless land.

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Categories: Environment

We love birds more than we think we do – video

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/12/08 - 3:49pm

Michael Shiels, supervisor of the bird department at Taronga zoo says birds are an integral part of Australian life. 

Shiels is unable to give a single answer to Guardian Australia's bird of the year poll, but believes all Australians love birds, even if they don't know it. The poll closes today at midnight

Share your best – or most underwhelming – Australian bird pictures

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Categories: Environment
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