Guardian Environment News

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Changing the course of history for Kenya's wildlife

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 8:30pm

Kenya’s wildlife numbers are plummeting. Reconnecting people to nature is key to the solution.

On May 31st Kenya celebrated the inauguration of the first phase of the new high-speed rail link from Mombasa to Nairobi. Now Kenyans can travel between the two largest cities quickly and cheaply. Accelerated movement of cargo and people will mean more trade, more income generation, and therefore, more jobs, and that’s good for our youthful nation.

Much less widely reported were results of studies by Dr Joseph Ogutu and colleagues at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which reveal that Kenya’s wildlife numbers are plummeting. Some of our most treasured animals, such as hirola, rhinos, cheetah, lions, and giraffe, are being pushed to the brink of extinction.

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Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef valued at $56bn as report warns it's 'too big to fail'

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 4:20pm

Deloitte Access Economics report says reef underpins 64,000 jobs and contributes $6.4bn to economy each year

A new report has valued the Great Barrier Reef at $56bn and warns of vast economic consequences for Australia unless more is done to protect it.

The Deloitte Access Economics report says the world heritage-listed reef underpins 64,000 direct and indirect jobs, and contributes $6.4bn to the national economy each year.

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Categories: Environment

The return of the giant hogweed: Country diary 100 years ago

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 2:30pm

Originally published in the Guardian on 1 July 1967

MACHYNLLETH: When a friend wrote recently and added a PS, “How’s that plant?” I knew that he meant the giant hogweed I described in this diary a year ago and which brought in more letters than anything I have ever mentioned. Last year’s plants duly disappeared but this year one has come up in a different place. It sowed itself at a path edge and for several weeks looked harmless enough. But suddenly it stretched out huge arms all round and now the path is quite blocked. Meanwhile its main stem is shooting up with equal speed and will soon be expanding massive umbels. I see it through the window as I write.

Related: Giant hogweed; digging deeper into the history of a 'killer weed'

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Categories: Environment

Activists ask consumer watchdog to investigate Acland mine ad campaign

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 11:00am

Lock the Gate and Oakey Coal Action Alliance say New Hope Group ad featuring logos of 40 other companies breaches consumer law

Opponents of a Queensland coal project have asked the consumer watchdog to investigate whether an embattled miner and up to 40 other companies broke the law with a “misleading” appeal for public support.

New Hope Group, whose New Acland project could become the first coal proposal in Queensland history to be refused mining licences, last week ran an advertising campaign claiming “thousands of jobs” would be lost unless the state government approved its expansion.

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Categories: Environment

Blue shark captured after Mallorca beach panic

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 9:59am

Shark was first spotted close to beaches at Cala Major and Can Pastilla, then discovered to have serious head wound

A blue shark whose presence in shallow waters off the coast of Mallorca caused panic over the weekend and led to the evacuation of beaches on the Balearic island, has been captured.

The animal was first spotted on Saturday as it swam close to the beaches at Cala Major and Can Pastilla, near the Mallorcan capital of Palma. Pictures showed the shark gliding through the water a few metres from bathers, who dashed to the safety of the shore.

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Categories: Environment

As Trump moves to privatize America's national parks, visitor costs may rise

Sun, 2017/06/25 - 6:31am

Some are concerned that the proposed privatization of some public park services would drive up costs for visitors and fail to raise enough for repairs

America’s national parks need a staggering $11.5bn worth of overdue road and infrastructure repairs. But with the proposed National Park Service budget slashed by almost $400m, the Trump administration says it will turn to privatizing public park services to address those deferred maintenance costs.

“I don’t want to be in the business of running campgrounds,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said at a meeting of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Washington this month. This came after Donald Trump proposed cutting the Department of the Interior budget by 13%.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to performance wear

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 10:00pm

You’d expect mountain climbers to be great champions of the environment, but their high-performance clothing is a chemical nightmare

There’s a long-standing rivalry between surfers and climbers as to who is the greenest. For my money, surfers have the edge. They’ve influenced environmentalism at large, making their issues – sewage and plastic – ours.

Greenpeace has found noxious chemicals in the air around outdoor clothing shops

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Categories: Environment

Crisis in Britain’s coastal villages as local fishing communities fight for survival

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 4:05pm
As tourists pour in, global forces push local fishermen out

It is hard to think of a more faithful depiction of the English fishing village than the scene that greets the visitor to Porthleven in Cornwall: the early summer sun glints off the water, holidaymakers throng the quayside restaurants, enjoying the fresh fish unloaded by the fishermen toiling in their boats.

Yet some argue that things are not what they seem. They say that none of the fish sold at the restaurants or cafés offering “fresh local fish” is caught by the town’s fishermen. Instead it is brought in by van from wholesalers in Newlyn, 15 miles away. And of the boats bobbing in the water, only three are commercial fishing boats. Of those, one fisherman is retiring this year and the other two are ready to call it a day.

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Categories: Environment

'Rewilding' Australia: not only do we need the outback, the outback needs us

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 3:01pm

Even in vast natural ecosystems, the fate and condition of nature lies in the hands of the people who live on, know, respect and manage that land

Only a small number of vast natural landscapes remain on Earth – wild regions where ecological processes function normally and movements of wildlife remain largely unfettered by the fragmentation of habitats. These few places include the Amazon basin, the boreal forests of Canada, tundra of Siberia, the Sahara Desert, and the Australian Outback.

It has become increasingly apparent to modern science what Indigenous people have understood for centuries: that even in these large, natural ecosystems, the fate and condition of nature lies in the hands of the people who live on, know, respect and manage that land.

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Categories: Environment

Anti-poaching drive brings Siberia’s tigers back from brink

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 12:10pm
A WWF appeal aims to highlight the threat of habitat destruction and climate change on wild populations

In February, Pavel Fomenko was told that the body of a young female tiger had been discovered underneath a car parked outside the town of Luchegorsk, in eastern Russia. Fomenko – head of rare species conservation for WWF Russia – took the corpse for examination where he uncovered the grim details of the animal’s death.

Related: The Siberian tiger protector - in pictures

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Categories: Environment

The Siberian tiger protector - in pictures

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 9:30am

Photographer Antonio Olmos travelled to the Russian far east to document the work of Pavel Fomenko, a man of the wilderness and tiger protector with the World Wildlife Fund

You can become a tiger protector with the WWF here

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Categories: Environment

Invasive Asian carp found near Great Lakes beyond electrified barrier

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 9:26am

The fish was found miles past a barrier designed to keep it from entering the ecosystem and wreaking the sort of damage seen elsewhere in the US

An Asian carp has been found just miles from the Great Lakes, beyond an electrified barrier designed to keep the invasive species from entering the ecosystem and wreaking the sort of damage seen elsewhere in the US.

The fish, weighing 8lbs and measuring 28in, was found by a monitoring team in a waterway nine miles from Lake Michigan, Illinois state officials said on Friday. The carp was sent to Southern Illinois University for further analysis.

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Categories: Environment

New Orleans mayor: US climate change policy cannot wait for Trump

Sat, 2017/06/24 - 7:00am
  • Mitch Landrieu says cities will lead as federal government is ‘paralysed’
  • NYC’s de Blasio backs push as Miami Beach shows anti-sea rise work

US cities will lead national policy on climate change after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, working to reduce emissions and become more resilient to rising sea levels, Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans said at an annual meeting in Florida.

Related: The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era

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Categories: Environment

Quarter of England’s rivers at risk of running dry, finds WWF

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 11:01pm

Freedom-of-information data reveals threat of drought that would devastate wildlife, with government slow to act on water management

A quarter of England’s rivers are at risk of running dry, with devastating consequences for wildlife, according to data obtained by WWF under freedom of information rules.

Fish are most obviously affected when rivers slow to a trickle, particularly those that migrate upstream such as salmon, trout, eels and lampreys. But animals such as water voles are also harmed, as they are unable to escape predators by fleeing into rivers to reach underwater entrances to their burrows. Birds such as kingfishers, sandpipers and dippers also suffer, as the insects and small fish they feed on die out.

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Categories: Environment

Paris agreement's 1.5C target 'only way' to save coral reefs, Unesco says

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 3:48pm

First global assessment of climate change impact on world heritage-listed reefs says local efforts are ‘no longer sufficient’

Greater emissions reductions and delivering on the Paris climate agreement are now “the only opportunity” to save coral reefs the world over from decline, with local responses no longer sufficient, a report by Unesco has found.

The first global scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change on the 29 world heritage-listed coral reefs, published on Saturday, found that the frequency, intensity and duration of heat-stress events had worsened with increasing global warming, with massive consequences for the 29 world heritage sites.

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Categories: Environment

Banks can help to protect world heritage sites | Letters

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 10:47am
Chris Gee on how banks lend to companies that have the potential to cause irreversible damage to heritage sites

Even protected Unesco world heritage sites – some of the most incredible places on earth – are threatened by decisions being made by banks (Report, 22 June). Almost half of those listed for their natural values are threatened by harmful industrial practices such as oil and gas exploration and mining. Banks lend to companies that have the potential to cause irreversible damage to these sites and this could be avoided if they had the right policies and implementation procedures in place. Our report details the steps banks can take to safeguard these areas. World Heritage sites are home to some of the planet’s most endangered species, and they are relied upon by local communities. We need to be doing everything we can to protect them.
Chris Gee
Head of campaigns, WWF-UK

• Join the debate – email

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Categories: Environment

Sadiq Khan: Gove must get a grip on 'life and death' air pollution crisis

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 7:00am

Mayor of London wants urgent meeting with new environment secretary to press for action on toxic air quality

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has requested an urgent meeting with the new environment secretary, Michael Gove, to urge him to get a grip on Britain’s “life and death” air pollution crisis.

This week, Khan activated the capital’s emergency alert system after experts warned toxic air in the capital had reached dangerous levels. Large parts of southern England and Wales were also affected on Wednesday.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 6:22am

Bison, bluebells, bumble bees and beavers are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 4:00am

Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change

It could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance.

A long drought, the second in a few years, had devastated the harvest after city authorities had restricted water supplies and farmers were protesting in the street. It was a foretaste of what may happen if temperatures in the Mediterranean basin continue to rise and desertification grows.

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Categories: Environment

Latest diesel car models remain highly polluting, tests show

Fri, 2017/06/23 - 3:33am

Six new vehicles including Land Rover and Suzuki are adding to air pollution crisis, despite stricter rules coming in months

The latest diesel car models are failing to meet pollution limits when on the road, just three months ahead of stricter new tests, independent tests have found. Results show that none of six new 2017 diesel cars met the EU standard for toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution in real-world driving.

The updated Equa Index, produced by the testing firm Emissions Analytics, shows that 86% of all diesel models put on to the British market since the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal failed to meet the official limit on the road, with 15% producing at least eight times more NOx emissions.

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Categories: Environment