Theresa May urged to honour climate and wildlife commitments

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/04/16 - 9:40am

Celebrities and pressure groups warn UK prime minister against entering into ‘environmental race to the bottom’ to secure post-Brexit trade deals

Leading environmental campaigners have warned the government against scaling back on commitments to tackle climate change and end the illegal market in wildlife in order to secure post-Brexit trade deals.

Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth and high-profile figures including Andy Murray and Will Young are among those who have signed a joint letter to the prime minister urging Theresa May not to engage in an “environmental race to the bottom” after withdrawal from the EU.

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Categories: Environment

Foxes surge into England's towns and cities

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/04/16 - 9:26am

Researchers estimate there are 150,000 urban foxes in England, with Bournemouth having the highest concentration

The number of urban foxes in England has quadrupled in the past 20 years, according to a study that estimates there are nearly 150,000 in England, or about one for every 300 urban residents.

While the number of foxes is declining overall in the UK, the study by Brighton and Reading universities has found that Bournemouth tops the charts with the highest concentration of urban foxes in the UK at 23 per square kilometre.

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Categories: Environment

22,000 years of history evaporates after freezer failure melts Arctic ice cores

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/04/16 - 8:03am

Around 13% of cache of ice cylinders extracted from glaciers in Canadian Arctic exposed to high heat in new storage facility at University of Alberta

Within them sits some 80,000 years of history, offering researchers tantalising clues about climate change and the Earth’s past. At least that was the case – until the precious cache of Arctic ice cores was hit by warming temperatures.

A freezer malfunction at the University of Alberta in Edmonton has melted part of the world’s largest collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic, reducing some of the ancient ice into puddles.

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Categories: Environment

Is Boston the next urban farming paradise?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/04/16 - 7:00am

The city’s healthy startup culture is contributing to Boston’s rapidly growing reputation as a haven for organic food and urban farming initiatives

For those seeking mild, year-round temperatures and affordable plots of land, Boston, with its long winters and dense population, isn’t the first city that comes to mind.

But graduates of the city’s nearly 35 colleges and universities are contributing to the area’s growing reputation as a haven for startups challenging and transforming age-old industries, from furniture to political fundraising. The city’s strong entrepreneurial spirit, combined with progressive legislation like the passing of Article 89, has also turned Boston into one of the nation’s hubs for urban agriculture.

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Categories: Environment

Artist Sets Futuristic Dinner Party In World Reshaped By Rising Seas

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/04/16 - 4:00am

How will our diets shift as climate change causes sea-level rise and coastal flooding? Photographer Allie Wist attempts to answer that with pictures of an imagined "post-sea-level-rise dinner party."

(Image credit: Heami Lee/Courtesy of Allie Wist, food stylist C.C. Buckley, prop stylist Rebecca Bartoshesy)

Categories: Environment

The eco guide to bike-sharing

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 10:00pm

Cycling has the power to transform urban transport. But access to bikes is key to getting more of us on to two wheels

Imagine the huge improvement in air quality if we shifted to pedal power. In Groningen, in the Netherlands, almost two-thirds of trips are made by bike, making it one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world. It’s no accident that the Dutch city also has great air quality. The UK manages a meagre 2% cycling rate overall. And we all know about the air quality here.

If, by the way, your wheels are redundant, please pass them on to the Bike Project to match with someone who desperately wants one.

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Categories: Environment

Queensland environment minister defends toxic foam leak health advice

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 4:28pm

Advice not to fish or eat seafood from area affected by Monday night spill not released until Friday

Queensland’s environment minister says the government did what it could to notify the public about a toxic firefighting foam leak into waterways near Brisbane airport.

Dr Steven Miles was informed about the spill on Tuesday but the public did not receive health advice not to fish or eat seafood from the nearby area until Friday.

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Categories: Environment

Great moments from the ‘most exciting time in nature’s calendar’

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 4:05pm
It has been a good spring for wildlife lovers

Perched on the telegraph wires in my Somerset village, is a swallow – all the way back from its winter quarters in Africa. In my back garden, orange-tip and small tortoiseshell butterflies are searching for nectar. And everywhere I look, spring foliage is filling the countryside with green.

This has been a vintage spring for wildlife watchers. Thanks to a spell of fine, settled weather at the end of March and the beginning of April, bluebells carpet forest floors, the dawn chorus is reaching its peak, and living creatures – from natterjack toads to great crested newts, bumblebees to badgers – are out in force. What more could we wish for on Easter weekend?

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Categories: Environment

It's a boy: world watches as New York zoo streams birth of calf to April the giraffe

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 3:06pm
  • Adventure Park uses YouTube to stream eagerly awaited event
  • 1.2 million people watch; calf will be named through a zoo competition

A New York zoo’s much-discussed livestream video of its pregnant giraffe showed her giving birth on Saturday.

Related: April the pregnant giraffe: live stream attracts millions – and YouTube censors

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Categories: Environment

The wildlife-friendly hedge: Country diary 100 years ago

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 21 April 1917

Surrey, April 19
The bush harrow has been at work in the meadows, and light rain, dewing the grass tops, glistens even under the clouds along broad green paths which extend from end to end of the field. The blackbirds have been very active these past few days, scurrying noisily about the hedges and piping in regular notes up among the trees. There is a nest in a hollow of the hedge bottom, built where a thorn begins to branch out from the roots, plastered inside as if with a delicate tool and then lined with tops of dead grasses and a few driblets of wool which have clung to the hedge as the down sheep have straggled about near the thorns. Buds have begun to take the shape of leaves. There is just a glimpse of new colour along the top of the distant wood; a momentary glint of sun gives the impression and no more of pale golden green, which dies as the sky leadens again. Underfoot the most notable thing is the growth of small clover. Stalks have lengthened and leaves broadened out well above the ground.

One of our rivers, which takes a very winding course down to the Thames, runs through a thicket of willows, with older trees pollarded along each bank. This evening, when the clouds dispersed, a pair of kingfishers chased under the yet bare branches, going at regular intervals and returning, not together but one after the other in the same way. There is more life in the water and more insects were playing below the still boughs. A warbler was singing – just a few notes, and then a long silence before he broke it again.

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Categories: Environment

Don Benton: the Trump 'shadow' adviser taking over the US draft system

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/04/15 - 4:00am

Former lawmaker, a member of the president’s ‘shadow cabinet’ spread across the government, was reassigned from the EPA after reportedly talking too much

Forty minutes between campaign stops and a Filet-o-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s cemented Don Benton’s place in Donald Trump’s orbit.

The brusque former lawmaker from Washington state remained close to Trump as the campaign intensified, reportedly wielding “an unusual degree” of influence over the Republican nominee.

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Categories: Environment

Hanging on rather than flourishing … a rare flower

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 9:30pm

New Forest Clustered around two trees, and shaded by them, is a narrow-leaved lungwort, unreported in the area for nearly 20 years

We head into the forest in search of a scarce plant. Nine years ago almost to the day, I chanced upon a single stem of narrow-leaved lungwort (Pulmonaria longifolia), and I want to find out if it is still there. Then, it had been growing in the shelter of a young bramble, with primroses alongside.

Before setting out, I check with Martin Rand, the botanical recorder for south Hampshire. When he tells me that he hasn’t had a report of its presence in this area since the turn of the millennium, I regret not having given him a note of my find before.

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Categories: Environment

Hunting the Ghost Fungus: glowing mushrooms in Australia’s forests

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 4:03pm

Standing in a dark pine forest surrounded by bioluminescent mushrooms is as magical and mysterious as it sounds – and worth the midnight trek into the mountains three hours out of Sydney

It’s just before midnight and we’re in the middle of an eerie pine forest in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, dodging leeches and lugging heavy camera equipment.

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Categories: Environment

Researchers Find A New Way To Make Water From Thin Air

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 11:06am

The device isn't the first technology that can turn water vapor into drinkable liquid water. But its creators say it uses less power and works in drier conditions — the key is something called a MOF.

(Image credit: Courtesy Evelyn Yang, MIT)

Categories: Environment

New study shows worrisome signs for Greenland ice | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 3:00am

Greenland ice is melting fast, and could potentially cause many meters of sea level rise

As humans put more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide, ice around the planet melts. This melting can be a problem, particularly if the melting ice starts its life on land. That’s because the melt water flows into the oceans, contributing to rising sea levels. Right now there are three main reasons that sea levels are rising. First, as ocean waters heat, they expand. Second, melting of ice in Antarctica flows into the ocean. Third, melting of ice on Greenland flows into the ocean. There is other melting, like mountain glaciers, but they are minor factors.

Okay, so how much is melting of Greenland contributing to sea level rise? Estimates are that about 270 gigatons of water per year are melting. The melting of an ice sheet like that atop Greenland can occur from the surface as air temperatures and sunlight warm the upper layer of ice. It can also occur from the edges as ice shelves collapse and fall into the oceans in large chunks.

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Categories: Environment

Spotted: baby giraffe Narus has first public outing at Chester zoo

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 2:07am

Born to his mother Orla a week ago as part of a captive-breeding programme, Narus is an endangered Rothschild’s giraffe

Under the watchful eye of his mother Orla, the baby giraffe Narus took her first wobbly steps within an hour of being born.

Narus is the second calf to be born into Chester zoo’s herd of 11 endangered Rothschild’s giraffes in the past five months.

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Categories: Environment

Toshiba's US nuclear problems could provide cautionary tale for UK

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 12:00am

Experts say construction delays and cost problems at two plants are due to lack of experience and absence of supply chains

The roots of Toshiba’s admission this week that it has serious doubts over its “ability to continue as a going concern” can be found near two small US towns.

It is the four reactors being built for nuclear power stations outside Waynesboro, in Georgia, and Jenkinsville, South Carolina, by the company’s US subsidiary Westinghouse that have left the Japanese corporation facing an annual loss of £7.37bn.

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Categories: Environment

Quarantine alert might have prevented white spot disease outbreak, review finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 10:06pm

Federal authorities investigating prawn imports did not tell Biosecurity Queensland about breaches

The white spot virus outbreak that devastated prawn farms in south-east Queensland may have been avoided if federal authorities investigating quarantine failures had warned the state’s biosecurity agency, a review has found.

The damning assessment is contained in the report of a marine biologist, Ben Diggles, who was contracted to investigate the white spot outbreak by the Fisheries Development and Research Centre – a body jointly funded by government and industry.

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Categories: Environment

Tumps of tunnelling moles reveal the past

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 9:30pm

The Trundle, West Sussex Ramparts’ busy archaeologists send forth iron age pottery, shells and bones as they excavate

As we walked the perimeter of the ramparts, we noticed that the cropped turf-covered contours below were heavily tracked with molehills. We came across an area of fresh tumps, the newly excavated soil still damp and dark like coffee grounds.

Related: Moles dig up buried treasure where human trowels are banned

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Categories: Environment

Spiritual festival on India's Yamuna river caused £5m damage

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 8:00pm

Report says it will take 10 years to fix problems caused by the event, which ‘completely destroyed’ the riverbed

A spiritual festival held along an Indian river last year, despite warnings by the country’s environmental watchdog, caused more than £5m of damage that could take 10 years to fix, according to a report.

One of India’s most celebrated gurus, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, headlined the World Culture festival along Delhi’s Yamuna river in March last year, drawing more than 3 million visitors including the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.

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