Tasmanian shy albatross embrace artificial nests in bid to boost population

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/08 - 10:00am

Birds reproduce only on three remote islands and are listed as ‘vulnerable’

The Tasmanian shy albatross has embraced the idea of settling down in an artificial, specially constructed nest, according to scientists who are trying to boost the population of the endangered seabird.

A trial of the nests was announced in June to help the breeding success of the endangered species, which biologists believe are vulnerable to the environmental effects of climate change.

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Categories: Environment

Fatal extraction: how demand for hippos’ teeth is threatening them with extinction

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/08 - 7:00am

The black market’s insatiable demand for ivory has turned poachers’ attention away from well-protected elephants to more vulnerable hippos

It seems almost incomprehensible that the desire for an ivory ornament or piece of jewellery justifies the slaughter of a majestic elephant, but as their populations continue to crash, the ever-hungry black market has become creative in order to satisfy its greed. Now, ivory hunters are setting their sights on everything from arctic narwhals to fossil mammoths. But one unexpected victim of this barbaric practice is the humble hippopotamus. A new study says that a rise in demand for hippos’ teeth is threatening the mammal with extinction.

In many ways, it takes a lot of effort to kill an elephant. They are legally well protected in most countries where they range and international regulations are clear. Also, smuggling large tusks internationally is highly conspicuous. Hippos offer a cheaper and, in many ways, “easier” ivory option. The simple truth is that they are not high on the priority list of the international conservation community. Find a group of wild-living African elephants and, often, they will either be tracked with radio collars or will be the focus of long-term conservation research, intensive ecotourism or determined law-enforcement efforts. Not so with hippos. Unlike their famous savannah cousins, they don’t come with a protective human entourage, meaning poachers can take their time. Additionally, they are not protected especially well at either a national or international level.

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Categories: Environment

Strange and beautiful things under a microscope – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/10/08 - 4:00am

A competition, now in its 43rd year, dedicated to showcasing the beautiful and bizarre as seen under a light microscope attracted over 2,000 entries from 88 countries. Here’s a selection of the winning and commended images from the 2017 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

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Categories: Environment

Hurricane Nate Expected To Hit Gulf Coast As Category 2

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 3:36pm

Hurricane Nate is intensifying as it takes aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast. People from southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle are bracing for Nate, which forecasters say could strengthen to a Category 2 storm.

Categories: Environment

As Residents Start To Return, Devastated Barbuda Struggles To Rebuild

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 3:36pm

The Caribbean island had to evacuate all its residents when Hurricane Irma hit last month. NPR's Michel Martin catches up with reporter Anika Kentish, who has been following the story of their return.

Categories: Environment

Nearly 70% of Australians oppose government loan for Adani mine – poll

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 3:18pm

ReachTel poll commissioned by Australia Institute shows people believe extending finance to coalmine would damage the country’s reputation

Polling released on Sunday shows Australians are mostly opposed to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, and even more strongly opposed to it getting any government assistance.

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Categories: Environment

Rescue of the olive ridley sea turtle

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 11:00am
Of the millions of eggs laid by the endangered olive ridley sea turtles on one Costa Rican beach, few survive both predators and poachers. But how could allowing local villagers to harvest the eggs be a solution?

Dawn on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and the dark figure of a man at the water’s edge gradually becomes distinct under a pinkening sky. I switch off my torch. Jairo Quiros Rosales and I are the only people to be seen on this broad black beach, the volcanic sands of which stretch north for several miles. Jairo is beckoning, so I hurry down to him, scanning the beach and murky shoreline. As the light grows, I make out the funereal vultures flecking the distance, and assorted mutts appear from the gloom to sniff the night from the sands.

And then I see them: about 100 metres further up the beach, like strange, regularly humped stones, hundreds of olive ridley sea turtles are making their way from the ocean on to the beach to lay their eggs. This is the arribada. It means “the arrival” in Spanish, and I have been waiting more than a month to see it.

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Categories: Environment

How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 8:19am

About half of the power generated in the UK comes from low-carbon sources – here’s a breakdown of the four main sources of electricity

As one of the UK’s renewable energy chiefs has pointed out, electric cars won’t tackle climate change if they run off fossil fuels. Matthew Wright, managing director of Dong Energy UK, said that although plug-in cars could cut local air pollution, it would be a “pyrrhic victory” if they increased greenhouse gases from coal and gas power stations.

“The fit between renewable energy and electric is a natural [one],” he argued. E.ON, one of the big-six energy suppliers, agrees: its dedicated new electric car tariff is supplied with 100% renewable power.

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Categories: Environment

Trump EPA plan will roll back Obama standards on power plant emissions

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 6:15am
  • Measures expected soon are part of promise to revive coal industry
  • Ex-EPA chief: ‘This administration has no intention of following the law’

The Trump administration is moving to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s attempt to slow global warming, seeking to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Related: Walruses face 'death sentence' as Trump administration fails to list them as endangered

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Categories: Environment

A Wayward Weedkiller Divides Farm Communities, Harms Wildlife

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2017/10/07 - 2:52am

When a drifting weedkiller hit America's farming heartland this summer, it damaged crops and friendships. The chemical could also be bad news for other vegetation, as well as bees and butterflies.

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Categories: Environment

Hidden cost of feeding grain to farm animals to hit $1.32tn a year

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 11:45pm

Campaigners say humans must address the huge hidden costs of industrial farming, such as wasted food and calories

Our habit of feeding human foods, such as grain and soya, to farm animals will cost us $1.32tn (£1tn) a year by 2050 globally, according to environmental campaigners.

The hidden costs of the industrial farming system are vast, and urgently need to be brought into clear focus, Peter Stevenson of Compassion in World Farming told the Extinction and Livestock conference in London. “There’s a worrying disconnect between the retail price of food and the true cost of production. As a result, food produced at great environmental cost can appear to be cheaper than more sustainably produced alternatives.”

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Categories: Environment

Marchers across the world demand justic for wildlife

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 8:00pm

Paula Kahumbu: The Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions brings people in cities across the world together to demand action to save threatened wildlife from extinction

Today, 7 October 2017, thousands of people are gathering in more than 100 cities all over the world to show solidarity with wildlife in the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions. This year’s theme ‘Justice for All’ draws attention to the dire threat to these species as a result of international wildlife crime.

In my home city Nairobi, the planning for this march has involved tens of organizations, including NGOs, local and national government agencies, universities, schools, companies, diplomatic embassies and local communities. More than 100 young volunteers have helped with preparations and will be present on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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Categories: Environment

Most Australians oppose Adani mine, poll shows, amid national protests

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 6:59pm

Thousands of people gather at 40 locations across the country on Saturday as part of the Stop Adani Alliance

New polling shows the majority of Australians oppose Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine going ahead, and an even bigger number are against Queensland allowing the company to receive a $1bn federal loan.

The polling, commissioned by the Stop Adani Alliance, was released on Saturday as thousands of people are expected to attend rallies at dozens of locations around the country, expressing their opposition to the project.

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Categories: Environment

Inconvenient facts about livestock farming | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 10:35am
Readers respond to George Monbiot’s call for an end to raising animals for food

George Monbiot’s fear of the few remaining British farmers (Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming, 4 October) reached new levels when he wrote that the “rich mosaic of rainforest and other habitats that once covered our hills has been erased” and blamed us for the tectonic drift that moved Britain from the equator towards the Arctic, perhaps 300m years ago. In the rest of his article he mixed unrelated science from all over the globe with the peculiar claims of noted eccentrics, and suggested that we should plough unsuitable land to grow soya, which will not grow in this climate, to produce artificial meat in urban factories.

He didn’t mention inconvenient features of the British ruminant livestock industry, such as the fact that most feed that animals get other than grass is made up of byproducts of the human food industry such as brewers’ grains, sugar beet and fruit-juice pulp, most of which would have to go to landfill if cows and sheep did not recycle it. Without the income from this form of recycling, the price of food in the shop would increase. We do need to moderate excessive meat consumption, and we do need to act on climate change, but this article sows confusion that will delay necessary change.
Huw Jones
St Clears, Carmarthenshire

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Categories: Environment

Your bag for life doesn't have to carry a food poisoning risk. Here's what to do

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 8:42am

Environmental health officers are urging consumers not to switch back to plastic following recent warnings that raw foods can spread harmful bacteria. So how can you keep your reusable bags hygienic?

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is urging consumers to continue to shop for food with reusable “bags for life”, fearing that worries about the food poisoning risks could trigger a backlash and even a resurgence in the use of thin plastic bags.

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Categories: Environment

Friday News Roundup - International

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 8:06am

The Secretary of State has gone public about what might've been said in private. Under mounting pressure, the King of Spain has been speaking out. And the Nobel prize committee has given the world a lot to talk about.

(Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Tories must seize this chance to make UK homes energy efficient

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 7:56am

Politicians may debate the merits of a cap on energy bills but making our leaky houses energy efficient is the solution that all political parties should unite behind

As the letters began to fall off the slogan behind Theresa May during her leader’s speech at the Conservative party conference, it was hard not to see symbolism. Not just of a premiership under threat, but also of a signature policy falling apart within hours of being announced.

The cap on energy bills was a pledge in the Conservative manifesto and the prime minister promised to introduce the legislation to make it happen. The Conservatives had at first dismissed an energy price cap as a reckless intervention in the market that would kill competition. But by the 2017 election the policy had been adopted by Theresa May and there was cross-party support.

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Categories: Environment

Queen bemoans aircraft noise at Windsor retreat in message to gardeners

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 7:45am

Monarch refers to impact of Heathrow flight path on Frogmore House, on 70th anniversary of Gardeners’ Question Time

In Queen Victoria’s day, the garden at Frogmore House in Windsor was a tranquil haven. It is less so for the present-day queen, it would seem.

In a special message for the 70th anniversary of Gardeners’ Question Time, Queen Elizabeth referred to the impact of the Heathrow flight path on the historic retreat, first made popular by Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, in the 1700s.

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Categories: Environment

Leopard captured after 36 hours on the loose at Indian car plant

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 7:44am
  • Big cat was spotted on CCTV by guards at country’s largest car factory
  • Animal will be released into wild after medical examination

A leopard on the loose inside India’s largest car factory has been caught and tranquillised after sparking a frantic 36-hour search by 200 police and wildlife officials.

Related: The leopards of Mumbai: life and death among the city's 'living ghosts'

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Categories: Environment

Britain's wildlife needs urgent new protections ahead of Brexit, say MPs

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/10/06 - 7:12am

EU laws that have protected hundreds of conservation sites and the species that live in them for decades could be watered down or lost with the EU withdrawal bill

Hundreds of treasured wildlife habitats across the UK that have been protected for decades by the European Union must be urgently maintained and preserved with a new environment act, MPs and campaigners say.

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Categories: Environment
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