News

EBR Decision
Dr. Tom Puk, a Professor from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay was the person who made the application which resulted in the land-mark 2005 decision to have the Ministry of Education subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). This decision is important because it requires the Minister of Education to establish and make public a Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). In addition it means that the public can voice any concerns they have about the SEV via a public forum on the internet. Until this time the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance were two of the major Ministries that were not accountable to the EBR (there are still eleven Ministries not subject to the EBR). Acts, regulations or instruments that Ministries put forward that might affect environment must be posted on the Registry before these laws are legislated. Like most of the other Ministries, under the current ruling the Ministry of Education is still not subject to the review process. Unfortunately the Ontario Government has never followed-up on their commitment and the decision to prescribe the Ministry of Education to the EBR has never been acted upon. We would ask that people write in and demand that the Ministry of Education be subject to Notice and Comment and Review ASAP. Even better, citizens should contact their MPP's, the Premier, Minister of Environment, and Minister of Education now. For additional information on how the EBR can impact Ecological Education please contact us at inquiries@ecologicaleducation.ca.



The following Earth News items provided by:

EcoEarth.Info - The Environmental Sustainability Portal

03/29/2015
Mobile app reveals what products contain palm oil
Mongabay: A new app enables iPhone [download] and Android [download] users to scan barcodes to reveal whether household products contain palm oil. The app, officially released Monday, was conceived by Australia-based Palm Oil Investigations (POI) and developed by Spectrum Solutions. POI says the app, which is geared toward Australian consumers, aims to encourage companies to adopt responsible palm oil sourcing polices. "It will make it easier for people to choose which products to purchase at the supermarket...

03/29/2015
Record heat in Antarctica
Mongabay: The temperature at a base in Antarctica hit a record high last week, reports Weather Underground. On March 24, 2015 Argentina's Esperanza Base reported a temperature of 63.5°F (17.5°C), which may be the warmest temperature ever recorded on the content. The previous high was set a day earlier at 63.3°F (17.4°C), according to a blog post by Christopher C. Burt. "The 17.5°C (63.5°F) temperature at Esperanza occurred just one day following a reading of 17.4°C (63.3°F) measured at Base Marambio...

03/29/2015
Extreme cold temps not the result of climate change
RedOrbit: A harsh winter cold spell that affected much of the Eastern US last month may have shattered record low temperatures that had stood for decades, but it was not the result of climate change, according to researchers from ETH Zurich and the California Institute of Technology. In fact, events experienced in that part of the country over the past two winters may have caused part of Niagara Falls to freeze and ice floes to form on the Great Lakes, but incidents like this are actually becoming increasingly...

03/29/2015
Ozone air pollution could harm women's fertility
ScienceDaily: any urban and suburban areas have high levels of ground-level ozone, an air pollutant that can adversely affect lung and heart health. New research in mice suggests breathing high levels of ozone could also affect women's ability to conceive. In some areas, ozone can reach high levels in the summer because the bright sunlight and heat combine with compounds from industrial emissions, car exhaust, and gasoline vapors to form the air pollutant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses the color-coded...

03/29/2015
China sees through its coal-fired haze what Alabama cannot
AL.com: In China, where coal is indeed king, they're cracking down on coal-fired power plants. And in Alabama, where just three of every 1,000 jobs come from any kind of mining, we'd mainline mercury if we thought it would save a single one of those jobs. Beijing, which is so polluted they take pictures of the smog from space, will close the last of its big coal-fired power plants next year, according to a report by Bloomberg. In Alabama, where public officials contend climate change is nothing but an...

03/29/2015
Melting ice slows down ocean circulation
Living on Earth: The Atlantic Conveyor Belt is a system of ocean currents that bring warm temperatures and important nutrients to the waters off of East Coast America and Western Europe. But as global warming melts ice in Greenland, the influx of fresh water seems to be slowing the northward drift down and could shut the system down altogether. Climate scientist Michael Mann tells host Steve Curwood that could spell trouble for the ocean and the economy. Transcript CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood....

03/29/2015
Rise govt insurance rates to mirror rising waters, flood debt
Washington Post: At her small beach house that sits in a flood zone, Nancy Loft-Powers worries. The prospect of rising water, she said, isn’t what bothers her. It’s the expected rise in the cost of her $7,500 yearly flood insurance. “My insurance is more than my mortgage,” Loft-Powers said in a phone interview from her year-round home in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. “I live by the beach in an old neighborhood. I pay [too much] insurance for a crap house that’s not great.” This April Fool’s Day,...

03/29/2015
Wildfires Tied to Drought, Heat & Topography, Not Beetles
Climate Central: In 2012, when the High Park Fire tore through a northern Colorado forest replete with dead trees left in the wake of a mountain pine beetle infestation, blame for the fire's spread across 87,000 acres was often placed primarily on the beetles. The High Park Fire, which killed one person and destroyed 259 homes, and the attention to the beetles in its wake were part of the impetus for a new University of Colorado study showing that bark beetle infestations and the dead trees they leave behind have...

03/29/2015
US to submit plans to fight global warming; most others delay
Reuters: The United States will submit plans for slowing global warming to the United Nations early this week but most governments will miss an informal March 31 deadline, complicating work on a global climate deal due in December. The U.S. submission, on Monday or Tuesday according to a White House official, adds to national strategies beyond 2020 already presented by the 28-nation European Union, Mexico, Switzerland and Norway. Together, they account for about a third of world greenhouse emissions....

03/29/2015
Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not planet
Guardian: News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. “I was called an Al Gore clone, a tree-hugger,” says Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin. Briggs, who was a key player in Georgetown’s...

03/27/2015
Africa: Climate Change Cap Must be Lowered to 1.5C, Warns Expert
SciDev.Net: World leaders must reduce the long-held target of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic impacts on the world's poorest people, says a leading climate scientist. Industrialised nations must stop ignoring the sustained calls from the developing world - backed by scientists - and set a 1.5 degree cap when the internationally agreed limit comes under review at UN climate talks later this year in Paris, France, says Petra Tschakert, a geographer from Pennsylvania...

03/27/2015
Antarctica is basically liquefying
Grist: Antarctica`s icy edges are melting 70 percent faster in some places than they were a decade ago, according to a new study in the journal Science. These massive ice shelves serve as a buffer between the continent’s ice-sheet system and the ocean. As they disintegrate, more and more ice will slip into the sea, raising sea levels by potentially huge amounts. This study is just the latest bit of horrible news from the bottom of the world. Last year, we found out that the West Antarctic ice sheet...

03/27/2015
Obama Unveils $1.2 Billion Plan Fight Superbug Crisis, But Is It Enough?
EcoWatch: President Obama is waging war against the superbug crisis, one of the “most pressing public health issues facing the world today,” causing tens of thousands of deaths and millions of illnesses every year in just the U.S. alone, the President said. Today, the White House announced its first-ever National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. The 63-page document outlines five specific goals to control the spread of superbugs over the next five years: slow the emergence...

03/27/2015
Australia Bans Lion Hunting Trophy Imports
Environment News Service: The Australian Government is taking action to protect African lions from what Environment Minister Greg Hunt called "the barbaric practice of canned hunting" by banning the import and export of trophies made from lions. The announcement was made at the Global March for Lions in Melbourne earlier this month. The African lion, Panthera leo, is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by the authoritative IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The tighter wildlife trade measures now in place under Australian...

03/27/2015
We Could Stop Global Warming This Fix But Probably Terrible Idea
Climate Desk: Back in the late 1990s, Ken Caldeira set out to disprove the "ludicrous" idea that we could reverse global warming by filling the sky with chemicals that would partially block the sun. A few years earlier, Mount Pinatubo had erupted in the Philippines, sending tiny sulfate particles--known as aerosols--into the stratosphere, where they reflected sunlight back into space and temporarily cooled the planet. Some scientists believed that an artificial version of this process could be used to cancel out...

03/27/2015
Stronger thunderstorms driving rise in tropical rainfall: Study
Reuters: An increase in strong thunderstorms could be responsible for greater rainfall in the tropics as a result of climate change, new research says. The joint research, which was conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS) and NASA, research found that even though other types of rainfall have decreased in frequency and the total number of thunderstorms has remained the same, the increase in big storms has elevated total rainfall. Thunderstorms...

03/27/2015
Antarctica ice shelves see ‘substantial’ loss last two decades, finds study
Blue and Green: A new study has found that over the last two decades there has been “substantial changes” in Antarctica’s floating ice shelves, with some areas experiencing as much as an 18% decreases. The researchers argue that the findings show how the ice sheet is responding to climate change. The study, which has been published in the journal Science, was led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The researchers analysed data from nearly two decades of satellite...

03/27/2015
In New York, Fracking Ban Fuels Secession Talk
LA Times: The national debate over fracking, which critics say can pollute groundwater and endanger public health, heated up last week when the Obama administration announced the first-ever federal regulations on the practice. But nowhere is fracking as heated an issue as in the stretch of New York known as the southern tier, where Cuomo's ban has spurred talk of secession. Political leaders like Price, Windsor's town supervisor, say secession is not such a farfetched idea, and they are gathering feedback...

03/27/2015
Pakistan Shelves 6 Coal-Fired Power Projects
RTCC: Pakistan has halted work on six coal-fired power projects of some 14,000 megawatts due to environmental concerns, lack of needed infrastructure and foreign investment. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari broke ground of the first mega coal power project in January 2014 to help the country overcome its energy crisis. The cost of the entire project was estimated at US$6-8 billion and it was scheduled to be completed in 2017. The government was expecting to generate...

03/27/2015
UK greenhouse gas emissions fell 8% in 2014
Blue and Green: Greenhouse gas emissions across the UK fell by more than 8% in 2014 thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, burning less coal and increasing renewable power generation, government figures suggest. Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate change show overall emissions fell by 8.4%, when compared to 2013, while carbon dioxide fell by 9.7%. The biggest fall was in the power sector, which saw emissions fall by 15%, offsetting a slight increase in transport emissions. Energy...

03/23/2015
Eco-millionaire's land grab prompts fury
Guardian: Douglas Tompkins calls himself a 'deep ecologist'. He is a millionaire on a quest to preserve some of Argentina's last frontier lands from human encroachment by buying them and turning them into ecological reserves. But Argentina may not permit him such philanthropy. Opponents are branding him a new-age 'imperialist gringo' and claim he has a secret aim: to help the US military gain control of the country's natural resources. Tompkins, who sold his Esprit clothing firm in 1989 for a reported $150m...

03/22/2015
Australia: Climate change: Coalition accused of politicising greenhouse gas target
Guardian: The Abbott government has been accused of politicising the release of official greenhouse gas projections that confirm Australia’s international climate change pledge for 2020 is becoming easier to reach, but which will also increase pressure for Australia to adopt a more ambitious post-2020 target. The official figures have shown that the total greenhouse gas reduction required to meet Australia’s bipartisan minimum target of a 5% cut by 2020 is now 236m tonnes, a decrease on previous estimates....

03/22/2015
Cyclone on course to smash into Australian coast a second time
Reuters: Three days after making landfall, Cyclone Nathan continued to threaten Australian coastal communities, with 400 residents of a remote northern island on Monday ordered to evacuate after meteorologists warned the storm was intensifying. It is the second time since late February that people living in Goulburn Island off Australia's Northern Territory have had to evacuate to escape a tropical cyclone. "Police have the power to force people to evacuate," said regional controller Commander Bruce...

03/22/2015
Florida's State Employees are Preparing for Climate Change, Even as Governor Bans Phrase
New Republic: From years of reporting on government employees, I know that they're in it for the long haul. Governors and news cycles come and go. The public's attention is beagle-fickle. But there are 25 years to go before pension. So I wasn't expecting any heroes to rock the boat from inside the vast bureaucracy that is Florida's government when I began to investigate the silent treatment given the terms "climate change" and "global warming" within state agencies. After we at the Florida Center for Investigative...

03/22/2015
Climate change could see deadly tropical diseases spread to the UK
Independent: Malaria, dengue fever and other deadly exotic diseases could become an established part of British life in a matter of decades, public health experts have warned. The emergence of the illnesses is likely to be driven by climate change, which will make it easier for mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects which transmit the diseases to become widespread in the UK. Dengue fever, West Nile virus and chikungunya have already reached parts of Europe and malaria has re-established itself in Greece...

03/22/2015
National Trust aims 'nurse British countryside back health'
Guardian: The British countryside will be “nursed back to health” by the National Trust under a new £1bn, 10-year plan, which takes the charity far beyond its conventional image of country houses and tearooms. Decades of poor land management, intensive farming and the loss of habitat have sent wildlife numbers tumbling, with 60% of species declining in the UK over the last 50 years. Under plans unveiled on Monday, the National Trust has pledged to try to reverse this decline, through its own actions...

03/22/2015
Calif Fourth Year Of Drought, New Regulations & $1 Billion In Relief
National Public Radio: KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Winter is coming to an end here in California. And you would barely notice it ever happened. This January was the driest on record since the state started keeping records in 1895. That means we are entering year four of a major drought with no relief in sight. This week, California's governor, Jerry Brown, announced plans for a $1 billion drought-relief package. And state water officials introduced water-saving measures for homes and businesses. Molly Peterson has reported extensively...

03/22/2015
The Everglades' Mammals Are Disappearing, and We Can Definitely Blame the Pythons
Nature World: Researchers have long had anecdotal evidence that the mammal population in the Florida Everglades - a region famous for its wild and rich biodiversity - was on the decline. That's right, 'mammals' - as in all that's cute, furry, savage, and sly - ranging from skunks, to bats, to even bobcats. Now a new study has found the first concrete example of this decline, with invasive pythons named as the primary killers of the region's disappearing marsh rabbits. If you know anything about rabbits, you...

03/22/2015
Great Barrier Reef campaign: scientists call scrapping coal projects
Guardian: Australia’s leading coral reef scientists have called for huge coalmining and port developments in Queensland to be scrapped in order to avoid “permanent damage” to the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) report, compiled by experts from five Australian universities and submitted to the United Nations, warns that “industrialising the Great Barrier Reef coastline will cause further stress to what is already a fragile ecosystem.” The report notes that nine proposed mines...

03/22/2015
Awkward: Watch as Florida lawmaker mocks Rick Scott official refusing say ‘climate change’
Raw Story: A smiling Florida state senator mocked a state official after attempting to get him the say "climate change," a term reportedly banned by Gov. Rick Scott. Appearing before a Senate budget subcommittee, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Bryan Koon spoke at length of the need for funds to warn residents in advance of floods, tornadoes and hurricanes in Florida, reports the Miami Herald. Following some back and forth between Koon and State Senator Jeff Clemens (D), Clemens...

03/22/2015
Solar sails set course for a new journey into renewable energy
Guardian: It was as the moon hit the sails of his yacht in the Atlantic Ocean that the thought struck Perry Carroll. “You’ve got a sail and you have got some sun, you must be able to find a way to put those solar sails on that fabric,” he said. Little over a decade later and that idea – which first hit Carroll during a 635–mile race between Rhode Island and Bermuda – has developed into a business aiming to generate solar energy from awnings over car parks and on the tops of buildings where conventional...

03/22/2015
Top Beijing Scientist: China Faces 'Huge Impact' Climate Change
National Public Radio: China's top weather scientist has made a rare official acknowledgement: climate change, he says, could have a "huge impact" on the country's crop yields and infrastructure. Zheng Guogang, the head of China's meteorological administration, tells Xinhua news agency that China is already experiencing temperature increases that outpace those in other parts of the world. As a result, China - the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases - faces a possible "ecological degradation," he says. "As...

03/22/2015
Shell oil driling in Arctic set get US government permission
Guardian: The US government is expected this week to give the go-ahead to a controversial plan by Shell to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic. The green light from Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, will spark protests from environmentalists who have campaigned against proposed exploration by the Anglo-Dutch group in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska. Jewell will make a formal statement backing the decision as soon as Wednesday, the earliest point at which her department can rubber-stamp...

03/22/2015
Climate-sceptic US senator given funds BP political action committee
Guardian: One of America’s most powerful and outspoken opponents of climate change regulation received election campaign contributions that can be traced back to senior BP staff, including chief executive Bob Dudley. Jim Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who has tirelessly campaigned against calls for a carbon tax and challenges the overwhelming consensus on climate change, received $10,000 (£6,700) from BP’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Following his re-election, Inhofe became chair of...

03/22/2015
Jerry Brown: Opposition on climate change borders on immoral
Sacramento Bee: Gov. Jerry Brown said opposition to steps President Barack Obama is taking on climate change “borders on the immoral,” as he tore into Republicans in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Brown’s remarks came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged states last week to ignore federal directives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Brown, a longtime champion of environmental causes, said McConnell was “representing his coal constituents” and putting at...

03/22/2015
Eden Project scheme preserve coast redwood trees future generations
Guardian: At the moment they are whippy saplings needing the support of canes to stand straight. Over hundreds – and hopefully thousands – of years, they will soar high into the Cornish sky. Clones of some of the oldest and biggest coast redwoods have been flown in from the western seaboard of the USA to the Eden Project in the far south-west of Britain as part of a hugely ambitious scheme to preserve the magnificent trees for future generations. Coast redwoods are the tallest living things on Earth,...

03/22/2015
Ted Cruz unfit to run for president because of his views on climate change, Jerry Brown says
Washington Post: California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), speaking Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," deemed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) "unfit" to run for president because of his views on climate change. "That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data," he said. "It's shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office." Brown said there should be urgency to deal with climate change. "I think this almost has to be at the level...

03/22/2015
Radiation, climate force Bikini Islanders to seek US refuge
Agence France-Presse: A tiny central Pacific community, forced to evacuate their homes because of US nuclear testing, are now demanding refuge in the United States as they face a new threat from climate change. "We want to relocate to the United States," Nishma Jamore, mayor of the atoll of Bikini, said on the weekend as Pacific waters continued to eat away at the small Kili and Ejit islands in the far-flung Marshall Islands archipelago. Jamore heads a community of about 1,000 islanders who have lived in exile on...

03/22/2015
Wisconsin Gov. Walker wants $250,000 to duplicate wind energy study
Wisconsin Gazette: There’s a proposed item in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget that would waste $250,000 to have the Public Service Commission study the health effects of wind turbines. His transparent intention is to continue stalling on Wisconsin’s development of this renewable energy source, which is opposed by the real-estate sector and producers of dirty energy, including Koch Industries and Exon Mobil. Those industries have bestowed Walker with beaucoup bucks, and, as he’s proven time and again, he’s not about to let...

03/22/2015
Welcome to 'Double El Niño' and more extreme weather
Public Radio International: We’re about to experience a “double El Niño” -- a rare weather phenomenon that climatologists had warned about several months ago. That means two consecutive years of the concentration of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that brings West Coast storms, quiet hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and busy ones in the Pacific. The danger is that this could mean more than a few months of odd weather, but instead usher in a new phase of climate change. Last year was the warmest year on record; 2015 looks...

03/22/2015
Monstrous melt: Distant Antarctica glaciers have scientists worried
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The great ice sheet of West Antarctica has begun sliding into what scientists believe is an irreversible collapse. It will take a century, but once glaciers that took tens of thousands of years to form are gone, the absence will result in a sea level rise in the Northern Hemisphere of at least 10 feet. If this were the only scenario to worry about, it would be more than enough to qualify as a catastrophe. Unfortunately, West Antarctica isn't the only ice formation that may disappear from the bottom...

03/22/2015
Leased solar panels can complicate — or kill — a home sale
LA Times: Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money - or give you headaches - when you go to sell the house? Possibly both. Say you get pitched by one of the growing number of companies offering solar panels at no upfront cost that they claim will save you lots of money on electricity bills. Sounds like a slam-dunk. So you sign on. Then a few years later you decide to sell the house. You assume that the presence of solar panels can only be a marketing plus, maybe even get...

03/22/2015
French government launches new law allowing it to ban half the private cars in Paris
Independent: Tomorrow will be an odd day in Paris. The government has triggered a pollution control law which allows it to ban half the private cars in the greater Paris area. Cars with registrations ending in odd numbers will be allowed to drive today. If the air pollution alert continues, it will be the turn of the even-numbered cars on Tuesday. Over 1,000 police officers will be mobilised to hand Euros 22 on-the-spot fines to offenders. The law, first triggered last year, allows the government to limit...

03/22/2015
Air pollutants could boost potency of common airborne allergens
ScienceDaily: A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that could increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate, could help explain why airborne allergies are becoming more common. The findings will be presented today at...

03/22/2015
Climate change: China official warns huge impact
BBC: Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission. Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a "serious threat" to big infrastructure projects. He said temperature rises in China were already higher than global averages. China, the world's biggest polluter, has said its emissions of gases that cause climate change will peak by 2030. However,...

03/22/2015
Top China weather expert warns on climate change
Agence France-Presse: China's top weather official has issued a stark warning on climate change, saying that rising temperatures could have "huge impacts" on the world's most populous country, state media reported Sunday. Global climate change will reduce crop yields, lead to "ecological degradation" and create unstable river flows, Xinhua news agency quoted Zheng Guoguang, chief of China's Meteorological Administration, as saying. "As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could...

03/22/2015
Climate change threatens world iconic ecosystems
Zee News: Without better local management, world's most iconic ecosystems are at risk of collapse under climate change, warn researchers. Protecting places of global environmental importance such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest from climate change will require reducing pressures like over-fishing, fertiliser pollution and land clearing, they said. Writing in the journal Science, an international team of researchers warned that localised issues, such as declining water quality from...

03/22/2015
Can trophy hunting help with animal conservation?
Guardian: The scariest thing about carnivores, even wolves, is that they are under threat. Carnivores – especially the apex predators, such as the big cats – bring huge benefits to an ecosystem, affecting species from beetles to bears. They are ecosystem engineers, policing the balance of biodiversity. Human encroachment into habitat is the biggest driver of decline in population, not hunting. The WWF’s Living Planet index suggests habitat loss is one factor which has contributed to a decline of 52% of...

03/21/2015
Great Barrier Reef: Australian PM Tony Abbott saving World Heritage site his top priority
Independent: A plan to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from destruction was announced yesterday as Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought to persuade the United Nations that the World Heritage site was not “in danger”. The reef has lost about 50 per cent of its coral in the past 30 years, due partly to ocean acidification caused by greenhouse gas emissions; the dumping of spoil from the dredging of sea channels; and pollution from agricultural chemicals. Plagues of venomous crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat...

03/21/2015
Scientists raid mangrove finch nests battle save birds discovered Darwin from extinction
Independent: Nests built by a species of finch which was discovered by Charles Darwin have been raided in an eleventh-hour bid to save the bird from extinction. Just 80 mangrove finches are left alive on the Galapagos Islands, the only place in the world where they are found, having declined catastrophically since the arrival of Darwin on HMS Beagle in 1835. With the birds on the brink of extinction, an international team of scientists decided they needed to take the desperate course of taking the eggs...

03/21/2015
Riled Herpetologists Press Obama Admin to Protect America’s Salamanders from a Fungal Threat
New York Times: The herpetologists I’ve met over the decades tend to be a retiring lot. Explore the website of the Herpetologists’ League to get the idea. They hunker down and probe under rotting logs and leaf litter for salamanders or prowl deserts to study tortoises and lizards. Some study ancient specimens in dusty jars. That was the case with the first herpetologist I got to know, during a junior semester abroad in London in 1977. I approached Garth Underwood (yes), at London’s Natural History Museum about undertaking...

03/21/2015
Adapting to climate change has repercussions
RedOrbit: Adapting to climate change could have profound environmental repercussions, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia. Research in Nature Climate Change reveals that adaptation measures have the potential to generate further pressures and threats for both local and global ecosystems. Lead researcher Dr Carlo Fezzi, from UEA`s School of Environmental Sciences, said: "Climate change is a just a little bit more complicated than we previously thought. We need to take into account...

03/21/2015
Roundup weedkiller 'probably' causes cancer, says WHO study
Guardian: Roundup, the world’s most widely used weedkiller, “probably” causes cancer, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – WHO’s cancer agency – said that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide made by agriculture company Monsanto, was “classified as probably carcinogenic to humans”. It also said there was “limited evidence” that glyphosate was carcinogenic in humans for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto, the world’s largest seed...

03/21/2015
Massive Glacier Melt Pouring into Gulf of Alaska
Nature World News: The collective freshwater discharge of this region is more than four times greater than the mighty Yukon River of Alaska and Canada, and half again as much as the Mississippi River. While scientists had indeed noticed this runoff, until now they had no idea the magnitude of its impact. If all this mountain rain, snow and glacial ice melt empties into the Gulf of Alaska, it would create the sixth largest coastal river in the world if it emerged as a single stream, researchers say. "Freshwater...

03/21/2015
Shrinking Forest Habitats Impact Global Ecosystems
Nature World: It's no secret that human activity is transforming our world. For example, increasing development for agriculture or new communities is shrinking forest habitats, and new research shows that this is having a significant impact on global ecosystems. According to findings published in the journal Science Advances, 70 percent of existing forest lands are within a half-mile of the forest edge, where encroaching urban, suburban or agricultural influences can cause any number of harmful effects - such...

03/21/2015
What Really Causes Global Ice Ages?
Nature World News: Researchers at Dartmouth College are casting doubt on the leading theory of what causes ice ages around the world, which could possibly help shed light on what we can expect in the future as our global climate continues to change. According to the popular Milankovitch theory of climate, the advance and retreat of ice sheets in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere is caused by changes in the Earth's orbit. That is, when our planet's orbit wobbles, it results in cyclic fluctuations in solar radiation...

03/21/2015
'Water man of India' bags top prize
BBC: An award known as "the Nobel Prize for water" has been given to an Indian campaigner who has brought water to 1,000 villages. The judges of the Stockholm Water Prize say his methods have also prevented floods, restored soil and rivers, and brought back wildlife. The prize-winner, Rajendra Singh, is dubbed "the Water Man of India". The judges say his technique is cheap, simple, and that his ideas should be followed worldwide. Mr Singh uses a modern version of the ancient Indian technique...

03/21/2015
Welcome to Global Warming’s Terrifying New Era
Slate: On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that Earth's global temperature for February was among the hottest ever measured. So far, 2015 is tracking above record-warm 2014--which, when combined with the newly resurgent El Niño, means we're on pace for another hottest year in history. In addition to the just-completed warmest winter on record globally (despite the brutal cold and record snow in the eastern U.S.), new data on Thursday from the National Snow and...

03/21/2015
Mitch McConnell’s dangerous new climate extremism: “A travesty of responsible leadership"
Salon: Mitch McConnell is going all in on his promise "do everything [he] can to try to stop" the EPA. The Kentucky senator, who said last year that he feels a "deep responsibility" to thwarts the implementation of the agency`s Clean Power Plan, is now reaching "far beyond....[his] official reach and authority" to do so, directly appealing to state governors to refuse to comply with them. In a letter sent Thursday to the National Governors Association, McConnell wrote that he has "serious legal and...

03/21/2015
U.N. report: Earth only have 60 percent of water needs by 2030
The Week: A new U.N. report claims that without substantial change, Earth could face a massive water shortage as soon as 2030. The report, "Water for a Sustainable World," says that in 2030, the Earth will only have 60 percent of the water it needs, if we continue on our current trajectory. Countries such as India are "rapidly depleting" their groundwater sources, Time reports, and global rainfall is increasingly unpredictable, thanks to climate change. But the population is still increasing, raising...

03/21/2015
Smog-choked Paris forces half of cars off roads
Agence France-Presse: French authorities will on Monday put in place emergency traffic-limiting measures in Paris, as the City of Light and much of northern France suffers from a choking smog. City mayor Anne Hidalgo had asked authorities to prevent one in every two cars from taking to the capital's streets and make all public transport temporarily free in a bid to drive down pollution. "I am delighted the state has agreed to put in place a partial driving ban on Monday, which I have been requesting for several...

03/21/2015
Africa is centre of a ‘wildlife war’ that the world is losing
Guardian: The northern white rhino is heading the way of the dinosaurs. With only five left on Earth – three in Kenya, one in America, and one in the Czech Republic – extinction is now inevitable. It survived for millions of years, but could not survive mankind. This is just one subspecies, but soon the planet’s remaining 28,500 rhinos could be under threat from the illegal wildlife trade. Worth up to £12bn a year, it has joined drugs, arms and human trafficking as one of the world’s biggest crime rackets....

03/21/2015
Amazon Trees Removed Almost a Third Less Carbon
Guardian: The amount of carbon the Amazon's remaining trees removed from the atmosphere fell by almost a third last decade, leading scientists to warn that manmade carbon emissions would need to be cut more deeply to tackle climate change. Fall in amount of carbon absorbed by rainforest means even greater cuts to manmade emissions are needed to combat climate change, warn scientists. Trees in untouched areas of the forest have been dying off across the basin at an increasing rate, found the study, published...

03/21/2015
Unprecedented CO2 Crimes: Next time Let's Call it Cyclone ExxonMobil
Juan Cole: Cyclone Pam, which this past week caused unprecedented destruction in the South Sea island nation of Vanuatu, should be called Cyclone ExxonMobil. I took this idea from a comment by Bill McKibben about Hurricane Sandy (“hurricane” is simply another name for a tropical cyclone). After Sandy struck, McKibben said that, “if there were any poetic justice, it would be named Hurricane Chevron or Hurricane Exxon.” Chevron is certainly a despicable corporation, which has caused much destruction. But...

03/21/2015
Activists want probe of alleged Florida 'climate change' word ban
United Press International: About a dozen members of the environmental group Forecast the Facts showed up to the state capitol building in Tallahassee Friday to deliver more than 40,000 electronically signed petitions asking for the probe, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. The group members also demonstrated against such a policy by wearing duct tape over their mouths with the words "climate change" written across it. The petitions ask for an investigation by the inspector general of the Florida Department of Environmental...

03/21/2015
Lights are going out for coal - humans starting fight back against global warming
Telegraph: Perhaps I should cross my fingers before writing this, but it just may be that we have slipped, virtually without noticing, past a landmark in environmental and industrial history. Preliminary figures suggest that last year, for the first time, global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels failed to rise despite economic growth. Even more surprisingly, emissions seem to have fallen in China. If confirmed, these developments – only recently thought beyond the bounds of practical...

03/21/2015
Plan ensures Great Barrier Reef future: Australia
Agence France-Presse: Australia released its long-term blueprint to save the Great Barrier Reef Saturday, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying protecting the World Heritage site was a priority. The 35-year plan for the major tourist attraction off the Queensland coast includes a complete and permanent ban on the dumping of capital dredge material in the area and sets targets to improve water quality and marine life populations. Abbott said the plan would "secure Australia's majestic Great Barrier Reef as a place...

03/21/2015
Australia: Abbott unveils plan to save Great Barrier Reef
Guardian: Australia has submitted its long-term plan to arrest the decline of the Great Barrier Reef, with Tony Abbott stressing to the international community that the government is “utterly committed” to the reef’s preservation. The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan has been compiled to allay concerns from Unesco over the fading health of the reef, with the organisation’s world heritage committee set to meet in June to decide whether the reef is to be listed as “in danger.” The plan sets a number...

03/21/2015
As lakes become deserts, drought is Iran's new problem
Agence France-Presse: Nazar Sarani's village in southeast Iran was once an island. It is now a desert, a casualty of the country's worsening water crisis. "We live in the dust," said the 54-year-old cattle herder of his home in the once exceptional biosphere of Lake Hamoun, a wetland of varied flora and fauna, which is now nothing but sand-baked earth. Climate change, with less rainfall each year, is blamed, but so too is human error and government mismanagement. Iran's reservoirs are only 40 percent full according...

03/21/2015
Pharrell brings "Happy" message on climate change to UN
CBS: About 1,200 middle school children trudged through the latest snow storm to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday evening to hear hip hop singer and producer Pharrell Williams talk about climate change. The U.N. sponsored the event, along the U.N. Foundation and MixRadio, to celebrate International Day of Happiness, established by the world organization in 2012. It transformed a normally conflict-focused, staid venue into a dramatically "happy" environment with a clear message: The next...

03/20/2015
Academics to draw up fossil fuel plan
BBC: Climate scientists at leading universities are joining forces to discuss the basis of a set of principles governing investment in fossil fuels. They include academics at Oxford, Imperial College London and Harvard. Prof Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said the move was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s. "This is a challenging question being put to universities," he told BBC News. "We have the opportunity here to think about the...

03/20/2015
Climate future: fewer but more intense cyclones predicted aftermath of Pam
Age: As Cyclone Pam tore its way through the South Pacific last weekend, Fiji Meteorological Service which had oversight for the catastrophic storm, assigned a "category 6" for one stage of its map tracking the tempest over Vanuatu. Pam was certainly a monster , with one-minute winds reaching 145 knots (268 km/h) and its core pressure dropping below 900 hectopascals - a rare event on both counts in the region. Still, according to the US ratings – slightly tougher than Fiji and Australia's - Pam's...

03/20/2015
World's Most Iconic Ecosystems May Collapse Under Climate Change
Nature World: Researchers warn that without better local management, some of the world's most iconic ecosystems may collapse under climate change. It is well known that corals in the Great Barrier Reef, for example, are diminishing due to ocean acidification, and that the Amazon rainforest has been suffering from drought over the last decade. But in order to combat such climate change-related threats, we need to reduce the other pressures they face - for example, overfishing, fertilizer pollution or land clearing....

03/20/2015
Answers Sought After Reports Of 'Climate Change' Ban
CBS: An environmental group wants Florida`s inspector general to check out reports of an unwritten policy prohibiting state agencies from using the terms "climate change" and "global warming." About a dozen members of the group Forecast the Facts, many appearing with their mouths covered by duct tape emblazoned with the words "climate change," dropped off about 43,000 electronically signed petitions Friday with the receptionists at Gov. Rick Scott`s Capitol office. The petitions ask the state`s...

03/20/2015
'We only have one home' Pharrell Williams urges action climate change
Reuters: It's time to go "from climate change to climate action" in efforts to save the planet, U.S. pop star Pharrell Williams said at the United Nations on Friday. Singer-producer Williams, 41, partnered with the United Nations Foundation on the International Day of Happiness to raise awareness and call for more action on climate change. "If you look at our behavior is hard to believe we’re all aware we only have one planet," Williams said in a General Assembly hall crowded with young people. "My...

03/20/2015
US unveils new rules to govern fracking on federal lands
Guardian: The first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracking were released on Friday by the US Department of Interior. The rules, which apply to all fracking on land owned by the US government, are the first federal standards to regulate the process – by which a mix of chemicals and water are injected into the ground in order to drill for oil and natural gas. The regulations require companies to disclose the specific mix of chemicals they use while fracking, and allow government workers to inspect...

03/20/2015
Monsanto weed killer can 'probably' cause cancer: WHO
Reuters: The world's most widely-used weed killer can "probably" cause cancer, the World Health Organization said on Friday. The WHO's cancer arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto Co herbicide Roundup, was "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans". It also said there was "limited evidence" that glyphosate was carcinogenic in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, said scientific...

03/20/2015
Deforestation Slowing, But Forests Are Breaking Down
Climate Central: The amount of climate pollution being produced every year by the felling of forests is falling worldwide, but benefits of the heartening decline are being eroded by the worsening conditions of the forests still left standing. The losses of entire stretches of forests, combined with losses of individual trees from forests that remain, pumped an average of 3.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year from 2011 to 2015, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization announced...

03/20/2015
Record Number Of Stranded Sea Lion Pups Strains Calif Resources
National Public Radio: There are more than two dozen pens at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, Calif., and no vacancy. They're filled with more than a hundred sea lion pups, grouped by health condition. The pups in the first row of pens are swimming in small pools and sliding across the wet concrete. "These guys on this half of the facility are actually doing pretty well," says Lauren Palmer, the chief biologist at the center. "They're eating on their own. They're playing. They're porpoising." It's a...

03/20/2015
Watch climate scientists give global warming elevator pitches
Mashable: For years now, climate science has suffered from a monumental public relations problem. The issue of manmade climate change has become so politicized that it's easy to forget that those who are conducting research into Earth's past, present and future climate are ordinary people -- not some elite cabal of brainiacs walled off in a lab somewhere. Climate activists have often lamented the ease with which climate change contrarians have painted global warming researchers as being part of some sort...

03/20/2015
By Land and Sea, Curaçao Seeks to Sustain Its Coral Bounty
New York Times: I apologize for the prolonged blog silence (I have withdrawal symptoms!), but this week has been devoted to filming, not writing. Since my move to Pace University five years ago, I’ve been working each spring with a colleague, Prof. Maria Luskay, to focus a long-running documentary production course on environmental stories. This year’s film, “Curaçao’s Coral Challenge – Reviving the Rain Forests of the Sea,” will be the third to explore humanity’s evolving relationship with the oceans (along with...

03/20/2015
For The Love Of Pork: Antibiotic Use On Farms Skyrockets Worldwide
National Public Radio: Sorry bacon lovers, we've got some sad news about your favorite meat. To get those sizzling strips of pork on your plate each morning takes more antibiotics than it does to make a steak burrito or a chicken sausage sandwich. Pig farmers around the world, on average, use nearly four times as much antibiotics as cattle ranchers do, per pound of meat. Poultry farmers fall somewhere between the two. That's one of the conclusions of a study published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National...

03/20/2015
Obama admin’s new fracking rules are just too weak, enviros say
Grist: The Obama administration rolled out fracking rules today that will regulate about 100,000 oil and gas wells on public and tribal lands. The rules come after a long process, initiated in Obama’s first term, to regulate the now-booming industry, and attracted more than 1.5 million comments from the public and interested groups. The new regulations, which were issued by the Department of the Interior, will go into effect in 90 days, and are aimed at wells spread over 750 million acres of public and...

03/20/2015
The Guardian is declaring war on fossil fuels
Climate Desk: After 20 years at the helm of one of the United Kingdom`s most influential newspapers, Alan Rusbridger is about to step down as editor of the Guardian. He`s not going quietly: In an op-ed a couple weeks ago, Rusbridger pledged to use his waning weeks to launch a full-out war on climate change: So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness the Guardian`s best resources to describe what is happening … For the purposes of our coming coverage, we will assume that the scientific...

03/20/2015
Forests shrink; 70 percent less 1 km from edge
Reuters: Farms, roads and towns are fast slicing up the world's wilderness, leaving 70 percent of the world's remaining forested land less than one km (half a mile) from a forest edge, a U.S.-led study showed on Friday. The report, by two dozen researchers on five continents and using data the covers the past 35 years, said a rising human population was putting more pressure on forest animals and plants, which suffer greater risk of extinction as their habitats become fragmented. "We found the results...

03/20/2015
New Fracking Rules on Public Lands ‘A Giveaway to Oil and Gas Industry,’ Advocates Say
EcoWatch: Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said that the new regulations for fracking on federal lands from the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would be released “within the next few days,” following a four-year process that included receiving more than 1.5 million public comments. Today she unveiled those new rules, which take effect in 90 days. The BLM claimed they would “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian...

03/20/2015
11 Natural Wonders to See Before They Are Gone
Scientific American: The world changes a little faster these days. As concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tick up year over year, more and more of the sun's heat gets trapped. That heat affects the planet in a variety of ways: raising global average temperatures, melting ice, increasing downpours, lengthening droughts and more. And this global warming is already transforming some of the places humans hold most dear. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization keeps a list of...

03/20/2015
Some Anxiety, But No Slowdown For North Dakota Oil Boom Town
National Public Radio: Low oil prices are causing a drop in new drilling and exploration in North Dakota, but not as much as you might expect. Take the boom town of Watford City, over in the northwestern corner of the state and in the heart of the Bakken oil patch. Its population has tripled since 2010, and today, continues to climb. A massive oil boom is dramatically transforming North Dakota's western plains. When I visited a year ago for our series on the Great Plains Oil Rush, the price of oil was above $100...

03/20/2015
Glacial Melt and Precipitation Create Massive Runoff in Gulf of Alaska
Yale Environment 360: Rapidly melting glaciers, rain, and snow are combining to dump a massive amount of freshwater into the Gulf of Alaska, with important implications for ocean chemistry and marine biology, according to a new study. So much meltwater is now flowing into the Gulf of Alaska that if all the streams and other runoff sources were combined it would create the world’s sixth-largest coastal river, according to research in The Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. The collective discharge into the Gulf of...

03/20/2015
Scientists: Ted Cruz’s Climate Theories “Load of Claptrap”
Climate Desk: Last night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a probable candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, shared his thoughts about climate change with late-night host Seth Meyers (video above). Here`s what he said: CRUZ: I just came back from New Hampshire where there`s snow and ice everywhere. And my view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they`ve got a problem because the science doesn`t back them up. And in particular,...

03/20/2015
Arctic missing an ice patch size of Texas and California this winter
Mashable: The Arctic climate sent yet another in a long series of alarm bells on Thursday as scientists announced that the sea ice cover in the region hit a record low maximum for the year. The winter maximum typically occurs in March, but this year it took place about two weeks earlier than average, with sea ice most likely maxing out on Feb. 25. The official call was made Thursday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, which tracks ice conditions at the poles. The record...

03/20/2015
Feds document seabird loss in North Pacific waters
Associated Press: The number of seabirds, including gulls, puffins and auklets, has dropped significantly in the Gulf of Alaska and northeast Bering Sea, a possible consequence of warmer waters, according to a preliminary federal analysis of nearly 40 years of surveys. U.S. Geological Survey experts found the seabird population density declined 2 percent annually from 1975 to 2012 in the northeast North Pacific, said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist at the USGS Alaska Science Center. "Biologically speaking,...

03/20/2015
World’s Largest Contiguous Marine Reserve Created Stop Illegal Fishing
EcoWatch: British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government announced the creation of the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve on Wednesday, protecting 322,000 square miles around the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific. To put that in perspective, that’s three and a half times the size of the United Kingdom and bigger than the state of California, according to National Geographic. Pitcairn’s residents implored the UK government to protect the area, which is threatened by illegal fishing. “No...

03/20/2015
Certified Naturally Grown: A New Way to Identify Pesticide-Free, Non-GMO Food
EcoWatch: Eco-conscious shoppers now have an alternative to organic food that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as Certified Naturally Grown (CNG). The equally pesticide-free method of farming is being used by a growing number of small farmers who cannot afford the expense of getting an organic certification from the USDA. Naturally grown farming, considered to be the grassroots alternative to certified organic agriculture, requires a national certification by the CNG. The...

03/20/2015
Florida Staffer Was Reprimanded for Talking About Climate Change
Huffington Post: A Florida Department of Environmental Protection land manager says he was sent home and formally reprimanded for speaking about climate change and the Keystone XL pipeline at an inter-agency meeting last month. The Tallahassee Democrat reported on the disciplinary measures Thursday, following a complaint filed on the employee's behalf by the Florida chapter of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER. Bart Bibler, a land management plan coordinator, was served with...

03/20/2015
Revealed: Gates Foundation $1.4B in Fossil Fuel Investments
Guardian: The charity run by Bill and Melinda Gates, who say the threat of climate change is so serious that immediate action is needed, held at least $1.4bn (£1bn) of investments in the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies, according to a Guardian analysis of the charity’s most recent tax filing in 2013. The companies include BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko Petroleum, which was recently forced to pay a $5bn environmental clean-up charge and Brazilian...

03/20/2015
Oil Sands Pain Spreads to Canada's Far-Flung Eastern Shores
Reuters: Cory Troke joined the exodus west two years ago, leaving scenic but job-scarce Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, after being laid off as a machinist. Troke, 37, headed to the Alberta oilsands, apprenticing as a pipefitter and finding 19 months of steady work, flying in for two weeks, returning home for one. By October Troke was out of work again, and he was not alone. A downturn driven by tumbling crude prices is causing turmoil in an island economy that has grown dependent on workers commuting more...

03/20/2015
Arctic Sea Ice Hits All-Time Winter Low
National Journal: Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest-ever wintertime level, a fresh indication that rapidly rising global temperatures are significantly impacting the polar region. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday that this year's Arctic ice cover hit a peak of 5.61 million square miles at the end of February, an alltime winter low since records began in 1979. Arctic sea ice expands and shrinks on a seasonal basis. Polar ice is typically at its thickest and most expansive in the winter...

03/20/2015
US Climate Change Envoy: China, US Working Closer on Deal
Associated Press: A U.S. envoy for climate change said Friday that China and the U.S. are working more closely than ever ahead of a conference this year in Paris that raises hopes for a global plan to cut greenhouse emissions. Special Envoy Todd Stern told reporters in Beijing that he still expects hard negotiations between many countries in advance of the U.N. summit. But he told reporters there's "a greater level of convergence on some very important structural issues" compared to the months before the last major...

03/20/2015
UN calls action as global water crisis looms
Deutsche-Weele: The UN has warned that the world will soon face a crisis of huge dimensions if water management does not improve. Population growth and climate change are among the factors fueling the problem. In its annual World Water Development Report released on Friday, the world body said if current trends of water usage continue, the demand for water will exceed its replenishment by 40 percent by 2030. The report said the rise in the world's population by some 80 million people per year was one of the...


Did You Know?

A person living in North America uses 1280 cubic meters of water compared to a person living in Africa who uses only 186 cubic meters.

 

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