The right language to protect the natural world | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 11:50am
Readers respond to George Monbiot’s recent article and news that the US Department of Agriculture is censoring use of term ‘climate change’

George Monbiot’s call to reconsider how we name things (Forget ‘the environment’. Fight for our living planet, 9 August) is a timely contribution to a confusing world. But one word that both he and the majority of online contributors have ignored is “prosperity”. That, after all, is why humans engage in economic activity: they believe it will make things better. There is, however, a fundamental problem with the way we have arranged our economic affairs. By treating the natural world as an infinite thing, “external” to the economy (except as a never-ending supply of resources) we have built a massive endeavour to take natural resources and make them into things that are then disposed of, generally after a fairly brief period of human enjoyment.

Everyone I speak to readily accepts that under this system the planet must eventually “run out”, but they cannot see an alternative to “prosperity”. The conversation we need to have is not how we name things but how we do things.

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Categories: Environment

UK set for month's rainfall in a day as flooding threat persists

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 10:47am

East Riding of Yorkshire and north-east Lincolnshire among areas hardest hit, with severe downpours expected

A month’s worth of rain was set to fall on the UK on Wednesday as severe downpours brought flooding to large parts of the country. Flash flooding hit towns and villages in the East Riding of Yorkshire and north-east Lincolnshire. There was a metre (3ft) of standing water in parts of Withernsea, and further flooding in the Grimsby and Immingham areas.

The Humberside fire and rescue service said it responded to calls on Tuesday evening from Bridlington to Hull, and from towns south of the river Humber. Grimsby Town’s League Cup football match with Derby County had to be abandoned on Tuesday night because of the heavy rain.

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Categories: Environment

Morrisons promises not to adopt brands using fake farm names

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 10:21am

Move follows NFU criticism of practice and consumer calls for genuine labelling

Supermarket chain Morrisons has pledged to support real British farmers by not adopting brands using fake farm names after a backlash by the National Farmers’ Union and concerns by shoppers.

Morrisons announced its intention after a 70% of adults said in a survey by the company they objected to the use of fictitious farm brands and only wanted genuine place or farm names on packaging and branding.

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Categories: Environment

When Oceans Give You Jellyfish Blooms, Turn Them Into Tasty Chips

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 8:35am

Scientists think human pressures on oceans could cause more jellyfish blooms. What to do? Eat them, says a Danish gastrophysicist who has cracked the science of making them palatable.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kristoff Styrbæk)

Categories: Environment

Marauding elephant could be shot after killing 15 people in India

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 4:00am

Wildlife officials say something must be done to end animal’s months-long rampage that has left villagers living in fear

An elephant that has killed 15 people in eastern India over a months-long rampage could be shot within days if it is not brought under control, an official has said.

Wildlife rangers and hunters assembled in Jharkhand on Wednesday after another victim was trampled to death on Tuesday evening, said the state’s chief forest and wildlife conservator, LR Singh.

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Categories: Environment

GM salmon hits shelves in Canada – but people may not know they're buying it

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 2:00am

AquaBounty salmon was approved for sale in Canada in 2016, paving the way for it to become the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply

Canadian supermarkets have become the first in the world to stock genetically modified fish, and about five tonnes of GM salmon have been sold in the country in recent months.

The sales figure was revealed in the most recent earnings report of the US-based AquaBounty Technologies, whose hybrid Atlantic salmon – which contains a gene from a Chinook salmon and a gene from the ocean pout – has been at the heart of a heated debate over transgenic animals as food.

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Categories: Environment

‘Indigenous peoples are the best guardians of world's biodiversity’

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 1:36am

Interview with UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Today is the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, numbering an estimated 370 million in 90 countries and speaking roughly 7,000 languages. To mark it, the Guardian interviews Kankanaey Igorot woman Victoria Tauli-Corpuz about the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which she calls “historic” and was adopted 10 years ago.

Tauli-Corpuz, from the Philippines, was Chair of the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues when the Declaration was adopted, and is currently the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In this interview, conducted via email, she explains why the Declaration is so important, argues that governments are failing to implement it, and claims that the struggle for indigenous rights “surpasses” other great social movements of the past:

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Categories: Environment

How can we get control over our electricity prices? | Christopher Zinn

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/08/09 - 12:15am

Turnbull has directed the power companies to help people lowering their bills. Only an empowered consumer is able to navigate market options effectively

  • Christopher Zinn is a campaigner who founded and runs determinedconsumer.com.au

There are many reports and inquiries, both current and gathering dust, into the shameful state of our electricity market and its unprecedented and ruinous price rises.

But there’s one belief they nearly all cling to, as does the prime minister from his meeting with energy chiefs today in Canberra, and it’s as fundamental as the positive and negative wires.

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Categories: Environment

Glencore's Wandoan coalmine wins approval from Queensland government

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 8:02pm

Decision enrages environmental groups, with Lock the Gate calling it a ‘very dark day for farming’ in the state

Glencore’s multibillion-dollar Wandoan coalmine proposal has been granted mining leases years after it was shelved amid falling commodity prices and a ramped-up global response to climate change.

On Tuesday Queensland’s natural resources and mines minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, approved three 27-year leases covering 30,000 hectares for the first stage of its $7bn mine near Roma.

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Categories: Environment

Bristol zoo gives rare spiders a leg-up with breeding programme

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 4:11pm

More than 1,000 of the endangered species, which come from one island off Portugal, have hatched in captivity in a world first

In what is believed to be a world first, one of the rarest spiders has been bred in captivity at Bristol Zoo Gardens. More than 1,000 Desertas wolf spiderlings, classed as critically endangered, have hatched. Keepers hand-reared some from tiny eggs as they are so precious. At birth, they measure 4mm across, but they will grow to 12cm, with a 4cm body.

The species is found in a single valley on Deserta Grande, one of the Desertas islands near Madeira, Portugal. There are about 4,000 adults left in the wild and it is hoped that some of the spiderlings can be returned to their home.

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Categories: Environment

PHOTOS: A 'Massive' Wildfire Is Now Blazing In Greenland

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 3:54pm

NASA satellites detected the blaze just over a week ago. Since then, the rare wildfire in western Greenland has continued to burn through a region far better known for its ice and snow.

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Categories: Environment

Scientists Fear Trump Administration Will Counter Climate Report

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 1:22pm

A comprehensive government report on climate change has leaked to the public. The report clearly states that humans are changing the climate, and the consequences could be serious. Those views are at odds with statements by many in the Trump administration.

Categories: Environment

Paris climate deal: US tells diplomats to dodge foreign officials' questions

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 1:07pm

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson directs staff to make clear US wants to help other countries use fossil fuels, diplomatic cable shows

US diplomats should sidestep questions from foreign governments on what it would take for the Trump administration to re-engage in the global Paris climate agreement, according to a diplomatic cable seen by Reuters.

The cable, sent by the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to embassies on Friday, also said diplomats should make clear the United States wants to help other countries use fossil fuels.

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Categories: Environment

U.S. Already Feeling Consequences Of Global Warming, Draft Report Finds

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 12:27pm

The document states that humans are causing climate change. The findings are at odds with statements by President Trump and key members of his administration.

(Image credit: Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

Categories: Environment

Dam it! How beavers could save Britain from flooding

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 8:38am

Since their trial reintroduction in Devon, the animal’s engineering skills have reduced floodwater and created a paradise for local wildlife. Should we bring them back for good?

At a secret location in the rolling pasture of west Devon lies a marshy patch of farmland protected by £35,000-worth of solar-powered electric fencing. This isn’t to keep people out but to restrain the tree-chomping, river-damming residents of these three hectares. Outside the fence is a typical small valley, with a trickle of a stream, willow thickets and pasture grazed by cattle. Inside the enclosure, the tiny stream has been blocked by 13 dams, creating pools and half-metre-wide canals. These have been built by Britain’s newest wild mammal, the beaver, which uses its waterways like we do – to transport goods. And as the beavers have coppiced trees, the willow thicket has been replaced with sunny glades of wild flowers – marsh thistles, watermint, meadowsweet – which dance with dragonflies and butterflies.

“The beavers have transformed this little trickle of a stream into a remarkable, primeval wetland,” says Mark Elliott, lead beaver project officer of Devon Wildlife Trust, which released two beavers here in 2011. “This is what the landscape would have looked like before we started farming, and it’s only six years old. That’s the amazing thing.”

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Categories: Environment

Baby, It's Cold Inside

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 7:18am

AC is central to American life — more than 8 out of 10 homes have it.

(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

The Trump administration's solution to climate change: ban the term | Bill McKibben

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 2:00am

The US Department of Agriculture has forbidden the use of the words ‘climate change’. This say-no-evil policy is doomed to fail

In a bold new strategy unveiled on Monday in the Guardian, the US Department of Agriculture – guardians of the planet’s richest farmlands – has decided to combat the threat of global warming by forbidding the use of the words.

Under guidance from the agency’s director of soil health, Bianca Moebius-Clune, a list of phrases to be avoided includes “climate change” and “climate change adaptation”, to be replaced by “weather extremes” and “resilience to weather extremes”.

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Categories: Environment

Go See It, Eclipse Chasers Urge. 'Your First Time Is Always Special'

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 2:00am

A small number of passionate "shadow lovers" roam the world to be at exactly the right place when the moon blots out the sun. One man has seen 33 — and calls each "one of the top events of my life."

(Image credit: Courtesy of Fred Espenak)

Categories: Environment


Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/08/08 - 1:56am




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Categories: Environment

Australian teen just 'unfortunate' to be attacked by meat-loving sea fleas

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2017/08/07 - 7:15pm

It’s safe to go back in the water, says marine biologist who identified the miniature attackers as lysianassid amphipods

The “meat-loving” marine creature that ate at the legs of a Melbourne teenager has been identified as a flesh-eating sea flea, known as a lysianassid amphipod.

Marine biologist Dr Genefor Walker-Smith said the creatures, which left 16-year-old Sam Kanizay with significant bleeding from his legs, were a small, scavenging crustacean that usually fed on dead fish or sea birds.

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Categories: Environment
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