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Indonesia's Peat Fires Still Blaze, But Not As Much As They Used To

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 11:00am

Clearing peat land by fire is illegal but remains widespread, since it's the cheapest way to clear land for farming and industry. Still, peat fires were down by more than 80 percent from 2015 to 2016.

(Image credit: Yosef Riadi for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Green energy in a coal state: the struggle to bring solar jobs to West Virginia

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 7:00am

Local entrepreneurs want to replace disappearing coal jobs with employment in solar – but that’s a tough move in a state that lacks the solar-friendly regulations of places like California

If solar energy were Dan Conant’s only passion, the West Virginia native could have stayed in Vermont, working for a fast-growing startup in a state friendly to renewables.

Instead, Conant returned home to Shepherdstown, where he started an installation company, Solar Holler, in 2014. Now, with three employees and a crew under contract, Conant’s new passion comes with an audacious goal: bring solar jobs to communities hit hard by the decline of coal.

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Categories: Environment

Climate Change As An Issue Of National Security

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 4:52am

Defense Secretary James Mattis called climate change a national security threat. Retired Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway talks about how the Pentagon will manage challenges presented by climate change.

Categories: Environment

Why I think there's still hope for the climate in 2017 | Adam Levy

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2017/03/19 - 3:00am

Despite Trump halting reduction of the US’s vast CO2 emissions, climate change is being taken seriously around the world from China to Sweden

Optimism has always been in short supply in conversations about global warming. Only for the briefest window – after the Paris climate agreement was reached in December 2015 – did the words “climate” and “hope” look reasonable next to each other in headlines. Then came 2016.

And yet, in spite of these past 12 months, I remain optimistic.

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Categories: Environment

The eco guide to mainstream organics

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 11:00pm

We need to learn from the Danish supermarkets, where organic produce is front and centre, not niche

Say you were to swap your weekly shop with a Dane, you’d notice something strange. In Danish supermarkets like SuperBrugsen, myriad organic products are proudly displayed at the front. Try tracking down anything more exciting than an organic carrot in a UK supermarket.

With this in mind our Organic Trade Board wants us to be more Danish and go mainstream organic. There’s some way to go. In 2014, our organic spend here was just £30.60 each for the whole year. Cynics might say that this equates to one organic chicken.

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Categories: Environment

As drought sweeps Kenya, herders invade farms and old wounds are reopened

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 5:04pm
Threatened by famine, pastoralists have turned to violence

Sitting on the edge of Kenya’s highest mountain, its spectacular dun-coloured vistas stretching out into the endless distance, Laikipia is one of the most beautiful corners of east Africa.

The region received a rush of publicity in 2010 when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton at a log cabin there. Tens of thousands of tourists now flock to parks and reserves in an area that promises rare sights including the world’s last three remaining northern white rhinoceroses.

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Categories: Environment

night sky

The Field Lab - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 3:51pm
Just beginning exploring the night skies.  Bought Adobe Lightroom to help me out a bit.  Big learning curve figuring out new software to get the perfect star time lapse.  I forgot how starry it is out here.  86,90,52, .07",B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Dakota Access pipeline: appeals court refuses tribes' request to stop oil flow

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 1:28pm
  • Two tribes sought emergency order to stop oil flow while suit plays out
  • DC court ruling means controversial pipeline could start work Monday

An appeals court on Saturday refused a request from two Native American tribes for an “emergency” order that would prevent oil from flowing through Dakota Access pipeline.

Related: Native Americans take Dakota Access pipeline protest to Washington

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Categories: Environment

The climate change battle dividing Trump’s America

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 11:00am
Climate change denial and energy conspiracy are high on the president’s agenda, but US scientists are fighting back

Ever since Donald Trump became US president, certain sectors of American society have felt particularly embattled. His statements on Mexicans and Muslims are notorious, but there is another community, less heard about, that has also been sent reeling: scientists.

If politics has never been a world that is overly respectful to empirical research, Trump’s victory exploited a growing popular suspicion of expertise, and a tendency to seek out alternative narratives to fact-based analysis. Conspiracy theories, anti-vaccination campaigns and climate change deniers have all traded on this rejection of science, and their voices have all been heard, to differing degrees, in the new administration. But for the science community perhaps the most provocative act so far of Trump’s short time in office was the appointment of Scott Pruitt, a Republican lawyer and climate change sceptic, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Categories: Environment

Torrey Canyon disaster – the UK's worst-ever oil spill 50 years on

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 1:00am

The UK’s biggest ever oil spill in 1967 taught invaluable lessons about the response to disasters, toughened up shipping safety and stirred green activism

“I saw this huge ship sailing and I thought he’s in rather close, I hope he knows what he’s doing,” recalled Gladys Perkins of the day 50 years ago, when Britain experienced its worst ever environmental disaster.

Related: Torrey Canyon oil spill 1967 - in pictures

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Categories: Environment

Did George Orwell shoot an elephant? His 1936 'confession' – and what it might mean

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 1:00am

George Orwell wrote a shocking account of a colonial policeman who kills an elephant and is filled with self-loathing. But was this fiction – or a confession? An Orwell expert introduces the original story

British imperialism being a largely commercial concern, when Burma became a part of the empire in 1886 the exploitation of its forests accelerated. Since motorised transport was useless in such hilly terrain, the timber companies used elephants. These docile, intelligent creatures were worth their weight in gold, hauling logs, stacking them near streams, launching them on their way and sometimes even clearing log jams that the foresters could not shift.

In the 1920s a young would-be poet, an ex-Etonian named Eric Blair, arrived as a Burma Police recruit and was posted to several places, culminating in Moulmein. Here he was accused of killing a timber company elephant, the chief of police saying he was a disgrace to Eton. Blair resigned while back in England on leave, and published several books under his assumed name, George Orwell.

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Categories: Environment

From the archive: the Torrey Canyon oil spill disaster of 1967

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2017/03/18 - 1:00am

How the Guardian reported the grounding of the Torrey Canyon supertanker and what was then the world’s worst oil spill

On 18 March 1967, the Torrey Canyon, one of the world’s biggest tankers, ran aground between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly, leaking more than 100,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. It was the UK’s worst oil spill to date, causing major environmental damage with more than 20,000 sea birds contaminated. The first Guardian report about the disaster appeared on 20 March.

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Categories: Environment

A window into the life of the wood

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 10:30pm

New Forest To some, fallen timber makes for an untidy forest. There was a time when the woodsmen would have cleared much of it away. Not now

We’re standing deep into the trees, looking through an oval porthole constructed from the boughs of a toppled oak. The sun is filtering through the still bare canopy to light up the story of this wood. As we look through the window, we are taken into its past, present and future.

The brown of autumn’s leaf drop mingles with the emerald-green of mosses. To one side, dark-green stems of butchers’ broom promise flashes of ripened scarlet berries in months to come. The stiletto blades of bluebells are just breaking free of the blanket of fallen leaves that has protected their bulbs through the winter months. Already they suggest a scene transformed, as yesterday’s base-brown becomes a wash of blue. Tall, erect trunks stand like sentinels in a painted backdrop, and mid-stage lies a tangle of branches, looking as though some huge beast has shed its antlers.

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Categories: Environment

A good-looking bird: the bush stone-curlew that loves its own reflection

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 9:41pm

Bird appears on campus in Queensland where it was spotted standing in front of a glass door admiring itself

A bird that was photographed staring at its own reflection has risen to fame in Australia after university students made it its own Facebook page.

The bush stone-curlew appeared on campus at Queensland University of Technology in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, on Tuesday, where it was spotted standing in front of a glass door, apparently admiring itself.

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Categories: Environment

a friday night film

The Field Lab - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 2:58pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Norwegian Pension Fund Divests From Companies Behind DAPL

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 1:19pm

KLP is pulling millions of dollars it has invested in companies building and owning the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision was reportedly driven by pressure from Norway's indigenous Sami peoples.

(Image credit: Nati Harnik/AP)

Categories: Environment

#CuriousGoat: Ask Us About Climate Change And Global Well-being

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 11:47am

What questions do you have about the toll that climate change is taking — and about possible solutions?

(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Birds, fluorescent frogs and Tasmania's glowing sea – green news roundup

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 8:02am

The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inbox

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Categories: Environment

Peru floods kill 67 and spark criticism of country's climate change preparedness

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 7:57am

Devastating downpour, caused by high ocean temperatures, could not have been predicted, president said, months after state of emergency declared for wildfires

Sixty-seven people have been killed and thousands more forced to evacuate by intense rains which damaged 115,000 homes and destroyed more than 100 bridges in Peru’s worst floods in recent memory.

“We are confronting a serious climatic problem,” said Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in a broadcast to the nation on Friday afternoon. “There hasn’t been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998.”

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Categories: Environment

CO2 emissions stay same for third year in row – despite global economy growing

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/03/17 - 7:25am

International Energy Agency report puts halt in emissions from energy down to growth in renewable power

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy have not increased for three years in a row even as the global economy grew, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

Global emissions from the energy sector were 32.1bn tonnes in 2016, the same as the previous two years, while the economy grew 3.1%, the organisation said.

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Categories: Environment
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