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Northern California Wildfires Still Burning As Death Toll Is Expected To Rise

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 1:44pm

Winds are expected to pick up and possibly refuel the wildfires spreading across northern California. The fires have left at least 21 people dead. But authorities say the death toll is likely to rise.

Categories: Environment

There's Gold In Them Thar Sewage Pipes, Swiss Researchers Say

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:42am

Each year, more than $3 million in gold and silver winds up in Swiss wastewater, scientists found. But in most cases, it doesn't make economic sense to extract and recycle the metals.

(Image credit: Elke Suess/Eawag)

Categories: Environment

Trump’s pro-coal agenda is a blow for clean air efforts at Texas' Big Bend park

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 10:34am

For decades the national park’s stunning vistas have been compromised by poor air quality, and prospects of improvement were derailed by Trump Tuesday

Big Bend national park is Texas at its most cinematic, with soaring, jagged forest peaks looming over vast desert lowlands, at once haughty and humble, prickly and pretty. It is also among the most remote places in the state.

Even from Alpine, the town of 6,000 that is the main gateway to the park, it is more than an hour’s drive to one of the entrances.

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Categories: Environment

Elephants mourn. Dogs love. Why do we deny the feelings of other species?

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 8:00am

Scientists are discovering more and more about the internal lives of animals. But what does this mean for the way humans behave?

Last week footage of five young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe to sell to zoos travelled round the world. Parks officials used helicopters to find the elephant families, shot sedatives into the young ones, then hazed away family members who came to the aid of the drugged young ones as they fell.

The film, shared exclusively with the Guardian, showed the young captives being trussed up and dragged on to trucks. In the final moments of footage, two men repeatedly kick a small dazed elephant in the head.

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Categories: Environment

Coffee shops not doing enough to combat huge increase in waste cups

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:49am

Just 1% of the 2.5bn disposable cups thrown away each year in the UK are recycled, committee of MPs is told

Coffee shops are not doing enough to deal with the billions of disposable cups that are thrown away in the UK each year, an influential committee of MPs has been told.

The environment audit committee heard that the phenomenal growth of on-the-go coffee meant that 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away annually in the UK, a number expected to rise to about 3bn by 2025. Only 1% are recycled.

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Categories: Environment

2017 on course to be deadliest on record for land defenders

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:35am

Deaths of environmental activists locked in conflict with mining, logging and agricultural companies across three continents has passed 150

Interactive: recording the deaths of environmental activists around the world

The number of people killed this year while defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife has passed 150 – meaning 2017 is on course to be the deadliest year on record.

Environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders are locked in fierce conflicts with mining, logging and agricultural companies in hundreds of places around the world. The Guardian is working with watchdog Global Witness to record all the deaths in 2017, and this week that figure reached 153 with a spate of killings across three continents.

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima evacuee to tell UN that Japan violated human rights

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:27am

Mitsuko Sonoda will say evacuees face financial hardship and are being forced to return to homes they believe are unsafe

A nuclear evacuee from Fukushima will claim Japan’s government has violated the human rights of people who fled their homes after the 2011 nuclear disaster, in testimony before the UN in Geneva this week.

Mitsuko Sonoda, who voluntarily left her village with her husband and their 10-year-old son days after three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant went into meltdown, will tell the UN human rights council that evacuees face financial hardship and are being forced to return to neighbourhoods they believe are still unsafe almost seven years after the disaster.

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Categories: Environment

Sewage plants are leaking millions of tiny plastic beads into Britain's seas

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:20am

The plastic beads used for filtering sewage are hard to spot and pose a risk to wildlife, according to a new report

Sewage plants are contributing to plastic pollution in the oceans with millions of tiny beads spilling into the seas around the UK, according to a new report.

Dozens of UK wastewater treatment plants use tiny plastic pellets, known as Bio-Beads, to filter chemical and organic contaminants from sewage, according to a study from the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC).

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Categories: Environment

Despite Trump, American companies are still investing in renewable energy | John Abraham

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 3:00am

Surveyed corporations stated that Trump’s election had no impact on their decision to buy renewable energy

After the election of Donald Trump, many of us in the climate and energy fields were rightfully fearful. What would happen to international agreements to cut greenhouse gases? What would happen to funding for climate research? What would happen to the green energy revolution?

In most instances, Trump is worse than we could have imagined. But in one special area, Trump may not matter. That is in the growth of corporate purchasing of renewable energy. It turns out there are factors that even Trump cannot stop that make choosing renewable energy an easy decision for many companies.

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Categories: Environment

What Energy Groups Think Is Wrong With The Clean Power Plan

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 2:01am

The EPA plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to combat climate change. Steve Inskeep talks to lawyer Jeff Holmstead, who represents a group which has challenged the plan in court.

Categories: Environment

EPA Vows To Speed Cleanup Of Toxic Superfund Sites Despite Funding Drop

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2017/10/11 - 2:00am

Superfund was initially paid for by taxes on crude oil, chemicals and the companies that created the toxic waste sites. But those taxes expired in 1995, leaving states strapped to find the money.

(Image credit: Joe Wertz/Stateimpact Oklahoma)

Categories: Environment

Plastic bottle deposit return scheme could save England's councils £35m a year

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 10:30pm

Cash-strapped councils would save money thanks to reduced littering and landfill charges as well as having less recycling bins to collect, says report

Councils across England could save up to £35m every year if the government introduces a deposit return scheme [DRS] for plastic bottles and other drinks containers, according to a new report.

Earlier this month environment secretary Michael Gove told the Conservative party conference that he would work with the industry to see how the scheme might be implemented in England.

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Categories: Environment

World will need 'carbon sucking' technology by 2030s, scientists warn

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 7:03pm

New methods to capture and store emissions, such as planting more forests and pumping carbon underground, are currently costly and need testing

As efforts to cut planet-warming emissions fall short, large-scale projects to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will be needed by the 2030s to hold the line against climate change, scientists have said.

Many new technologies that aim to capture and store carbon emissions, thereby delivering “negative emissions”, are costly, controversial and in the early phase of testing.

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Categories: Environment


The Field Lab - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 5:03pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Watchdog slams nuclear cleanup contract that cost public £122m

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 4:01pm

Contract to dispose of material from 12 sites went ‘wrong on a fundamental level’ and led to multimillion pound payouts

The government agency responsible for mishandling a major nuclear cleanup contract – costing the state more than £122m – has been severely criticised by Whitehall’s spending watchdog.

A National Audit Office inquiry into a bungled £6.2bn contract to dispose of material from 12 different nuclear sites has questioned whether the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is capable of understanding procurement rules.

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Categories: Environment

Fatbergs: 90% of London restaurants are contributing to problem

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 4:01pm

Oil and food scraps are finding their way into pipes and drains as majority of eateries have no grease traps

The vast majority of London restaurants and takeaways are responsible for feeding the fatbergs that are choking the capital’s sewers, according to survey findings that Thames Water called “staggering”.

Ninety per cent of eateries in London are contributing to the problem by failing to install grease traps, the report found. As a result, grease, oil and food scraps washed off plates, utensils and saucepans are finding their way into pipes and drains.

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Categories: Environment

In California, Wildfires Level Parts Of Santa Rosa

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 1:49pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Santa Rosa County Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal about the wildfires affecting Northern California.

Categories: Environment

How Much Can The Repeal Of The Clean Power Plan Help The Declining Coal Industry?

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 1:49pm

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has formally begun the process to repeal the Clean Power Plan and coal states are welcoming the action. But the industry is still declining throughout the country.

Categories: Environment

California fires: at least 15 killed in 'unprecedented' wine country blaze

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 12:42pm

Wildfires leave 150 missing and destroy 2,000 structures and large swaths of land, as powerful winds fuel ‘an inferno like you’ve never seen before’

At least 15 people have died in northern California after what officials are describing as an “unprecedented” wildfire that has already destroyed 2,000 structures and devastated large swaths of wine country.

“We often have multiple fires going on, but the majority of them all started right around the same time period, same time of night – it’s unprecedented,” Amy Head, the fire captain spokeswoman for Cal Fire, the state agency responsible for fire protection, told the Guardian. “I hate using that word because it’s been overused a lot lately because of how fires have been in the past few years, but it truly is – there’s just been a lot of destruction.”

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Categories: Environment

No more platform No 2s: train toilets to stop emptying on to tracks

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2017/10/10 - 11:10am

Modern fleets and holding-tank facilities will end dumping of raw sewage on to railway lines

The final flush on train toilets that empty their contents directly on to Britain’s tracks will be pulled in 2019, rail bosses and ministers have promised.

A combination of new trains and retrofitting old stock with modern, holding-tank toilets will end the dumping of raw sewage on the railways.

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Categories: Environment
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