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Is your takeout lunch bowl covered in toxic 'forever chemicals'? | Joe Fassler

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2019/08/16 - 12:00am

Compostable bowls are considered eco-friendly, but they are covered in chemicals that persist indefinitely and are linked to troubling health effects

For years, disposable bowls have been a stalwart ally of the fast-casual restaurant. Beige, earthy-looking and made from molded plant fibers, these receptacles appear less wasteful than single-use plastic, lending an aura of social responsibility to the eateries that use them. Some varieties are even certified compostable, which means they’re guaranteed to break down in commercial composting facilities, if not the backyard leaf pile. And while only a few chains actually run composting programs, these bowls still feel lighter-touch somehow – even when they’re simply shipped to the landfill. They suggest a higher-minded way of eating, one based on a form of packaging that’s almost as ephemeral as our encounters with it.

But fast-casual bowls have a troubling secret: virtually all of them contain worrisome chemicals that never biodegrade, polluting soil, water and our bodies in the process. The truth is that, though you might only handle your salad bowl for five minutes, traces of it will stick around in the environment for ever.

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Categories: Environment

Scott Morrison's betrayal of the Pacific was immoral – and completely unnecessary | Nicky Ison

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 11:25pm

Australia’s regional and global influence will not grow unless we are fair dinkum about acting on climate change

As the Pacific Islands Forum comes to an end, Australia has yet again been shamed on a global stage for our inaction on climate change. The forum was held in Tuvalu, one of the lowest lying islands on Earth, where the effects of sea level rise are already being seen. For Tuvalu, a global commitment to limiting climate change to 1.5C is literally a question of survival.

By doing everything he could to water down the forum communique’s climate language, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, refused to listen to the words of Tuvalu’s prime minister, Enele Sopoaga, when he urged leaders to focus on “survival, not saving the economies of countries”.

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Categories: Environment

What do we lose when we lose a local bike shop?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 11:00pm

As UK rents rise and online retailers eat into their margins, shops struggle to survive

In the early 1930s a young William Laker would cycle the 50-odd miles from his home in Kent to Crystal Palace in south London to visit the woman who would, half a century later, become my grandmother.

There is every chance Grandpa would have popped into the small bike shop at 3&5 Central Hill in Crystal Palace. That very shop remained open for about 97 years, serving generations of cyclists, but in July the current custodian of what is now called Blue Door Bicycles, David Hibbs, announced it is to close its door for good.

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Categories: Environment

'Bees, not refugees': the environmentalist roots of anti-immigrant bigotry

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 10:00pm

Recent mass shootings have been linked to ‘eco-xenophobia’ – part of a tradition that dates to America’s first conservationists

The environmentalist, white nationalist, and influential anti-immigration activist John Tanton died less than three weeks before the El Paso shooting. Tanton lived to see his movement shape much of modern US immigration policy, but not this latest violent turn.

A hate-filled document allegedly linked to the man suspected of killing 22 people in El Paso on 3 August echoed the kind of rhetoric generally favored by the far right – and also had a decidedly environmentalist, Tanton-like bent. The document praised the Dr Seuss character the Lorax, who says he speaks for the trees, and complained about the unsustainable overuse of paper towels. It concluded that the best course of environmental action would be mass murder.

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Categories: Environment

Revealed: 'fierce' Pacific forum meeting almost collapsed over climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 6:13pm

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison came under fire from Tuvalu’s leader Enele Sopoaga

Critical talks at the Pacific Islands Forum almost collapsed twice amid “fierce” clashes between the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and Tuvalu’s prime minister, Enele Sopoaga, over Australia’s “red lines” on climate change.

Ralph Regenvanu, Vanuatu’s foreign minister, who was part of the drafting committee of the forum communique and observed the leaders’ retreat, said there was heated discussion over the Australian delegation’s insistence on the removal of references to coal, setting a target of limiting global warming to below 1.5C and announcing a strategy for zero emissions by 2050.

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Categories: Environment

Trump administration reverses decision to use 'cyanide bombs' to kill wild animals

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 3:53pm

The poison-filled traps are used by the federal government to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals for farmers and ranchers

After sustained public outcry, the Trump administration has voided its decision to reauthorize controversial cyanide traps for killing wildlife.

The traps, which are known as M-44s and dubbed “cyanide bombs” by critics, are spring-loaded devices that emit a spray of sodium cyanide to kill their targets. The traps are most frequently used by Wildlife Services, a little-known federal agency inside the United States Department of Agriculture, to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals at the behest of private agriculture operators.

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Categories: Environment

The roof is finished...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 3:50pm
video tomorrow...91,96,72,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Scott Morrison condemns Alan Jones's call to 'shove sock down throat' of Jacinda Ardern

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 2:24pm

Australia PM says radio host ‘way out of line’ for comments about New Zealand leader

Scott Morrison has said the radio presenter Alan Jones was “way out of line” for saying the Australian prime minister should “shove a sock down the throat” of his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern.

Speaking after a 12-hour meeting with other leaders of Pacific countries in Tuvalu on Thursday, Morrison said: “The comment has been relayed to me; on what’s been reported to me, I find that very disappointing and of course that’s way out of line.

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Categories: Environment

Government's shift to relax shale gas fracking safeguards condemned

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 12:43pm

Environment groups fear possibly ‘weakened’ earthquake risk rules after report on Cuadrilla drilling

Environmental groups have voiced fears that the government is preparing to row back on fracking regulations after officials said they were considering reviewing earthquake safeguard rules.

The limits affecting shale gas fracking are strongly contested by the industry because they bring an immediate halt to fracking if even a minor tremor of 0.5 on the Richter scale is recorded.

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Categories: Environment

Australia waters down Pacific Islands plea on climate crisis

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 11:05am

Forum’s chair describes leaders’ 12 hours of talks as ‘very, very tough struggle’

Australia stands in opposition to other Pacific Islands nations after distancing itself from language calling for urgent action on climate change at a regional meeting in Tuvalu.

Eighteen leaders including Australia’s Scott Morrison, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama met for almost 12 hours at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and its chair, Enele Sopoaga, the Tuvaluan prime minister, described the talks as “a very, very tough, difficult struggle”.

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Categories: Environment

Robert Macfarlane finally wins Wainwright nature writing prize

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2019/08/15 - 8:00am

Underland was the author’s fourth work to be shortlisted, and judges decided unanimously that the ‘claustrophobic thriller of sorts’ was his best

After making the shortlist for the UK’s top nature-writing award three times, Robert Macfarlane has finally won the Wainwright Golden Beer book prize for what judges called his “best book”: a journey into the worlds beneath our feet, Underland.

Related: Underland by Robert Macfarlane review – a dazzling journey into deep time

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Categories: Environment

New Zealanders warned about the consumption of 'sexy pavement lichen'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 6:56pm

A common species of urban lichen is being promoted as a natural alternative to Viagra, much to the concern of scientists

Botanists in New Zealand are warning the public not to consume lichen growing on footpaths and shady rocks throughout the country, after misleading stories about its stimulatory properties spread rapidly online.

The University of Otago lichenologist Dr Allison Knight dubbed a common species of local lichen “sexy pavement lichen” after discovering it was being promoted as a natural alternative to Viagra in online marketplaces, especially in China.

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Categories: Environment

Arron Banks jokes about Greta Thunberg and 'freak yachting accidents'

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 4:57pm

MPs, celebrities and academics criticise ‘disgraceful’ comment by Brexit backer

Arron Banks has been criticised after he appeared to wish harm upon Greta Thunberg as the 16-year-old activist set sail across the Atlantic in a solar-powered yacht on a zero-carbon two-week voyage.

The controversial Brexit backer warned the teenager that “freak yachting accidents do happen in August” as he responded to a tweet by Green party MP Caroline Lucas who said Thunberg was carrying “the vital message to the UN that time is running out to address the climate emergency”.

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Categories: Environment

Australia removes climate 'crisis' from Pacific islands draft declaration

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 3:31pm

Sources say Canberra has softened language, getting rid of all but one reference to coal

Australia has succeeded in removing all but one reference to coal on the draft communique of the Pacific Islands Forum, and is expected to be able to get that removed on Thursday as Pacific leaders including Scott Morrison meet to debate the text.

Sources familiar with the negotiations on the communique, which is used for regional policy making, told Guardian Australia that Australia has been working hard during negotiations to soften the language on climate change and has succeeded in many mentions.

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Categories: Environment

something different...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 3:13pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

This Red Oak Tree Has Its Own Twitter And It Shares Insight About Climate Change

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 2:32pm

Deep in a forest of central Massachusetts stands an average red oak tree. Nothing is special about it, except for the fact that it tweets, offering insight into climate change.

Categories: Environment

State government-funded managers urge cane farmers to question reef science

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 11:00am

Exclusive: Speaking tour by controversial academic Peter Ridd is being supported by sugarcane managers paid for with Queensland government funds

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Sugarcane industry managers funded by grants from the Queensland government to help cane growers reduce pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef are promoting lectures by a controversial scientist who argues farm runoff is no threat to the reef.

Peter Ridd began a speaking tour of regional Queensland on Monday amid fierce opposition to proposed state regulations that would set restrictions for sediment and chemical runoff from farms into reef catchments.

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Categories: Environment

Nuclear energy and alternatives old and new | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 9:02am
Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage, says David Blackburn. Plus Mike Ellwood on the integral fast reactor, and John Barstow on the case for keeping coal as a backup

Your article on Hinkley Point C outlines the rising costs, long delays and the mental health crisis among the employees building this new nuclear power station (Report, 14 August). The article suggests the much-delayed project may be delivered around 2025-6. But even this assessment should be treated with real caution. An identical reactor being built at Flamanville in France, which was started in 2007, was supposed to open in 2012. The French nuclear regulator has now sought more work on faulty welds across the reactor, meaning another three-year delay until 2022, ie 15 years after construction began. The additional costs of building this reactor will burden EDF further and inevitably impact on Hinkley Point C. I agree with the National Infrastructure Commission that the costs and delays to new nuclear are such that the UK has to refocus on more deliverable and cheaper renewable energies. Across the board these are being delivered now and we simply do not have the time to wait for new nuclear to come forward. Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage. The climate emergency is too pressing to take our time with such endeavours.
Councillor David Blackburn
Chair of UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Steering Committee

• Professor Neil Hyatt (Letters, 8 August) suggests that we should be actively considering doing something with our existing nuclear waste. There is something that could be done to make the problem much easier to solve, and also provide a way of generating power that is free of CO2 emissions.

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Categories: Environment

Fracking causing rise in methane emissions, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 7:32am

Researchers say boom in shale oil and gas major contributor to climate emergency

The boom in the US shale gas and oil may have ignited a significant global spike in methane emissions blamed for accelerating the pace of the climate crisis, according to research.

Scientists at Cornell University have found the “chemical fingerprints” of the rising global methane levels point to shale oil and shale gas as the probable source.

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Categories: Environment

Wet, Wild And High: Lakes And Rivers Wreak Havoc Across Midwest, South

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2019/08/14 - 2:03am

Parts of the Mississippi have been above flood stage for months. All of the Great Lakes are at or near record-high levels. It's halting barge traffic, damaging infrastructure and eroding shorelines.

(Image credit: Jim Mone/AP)

Categories: Environment
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