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

10/31/2014
A County Resents Oil Drilling, Despite the Money It Brings In
New York Times: Dennis Seidenberger has farmed cotton for 49 years in this close-knit community 40 miles southeast of Midland. Farming is a way of life that he passed on to his son, and one that he hopes will stay in the family for generations. But his outlook has changed over the past three years as a surge in oil drilling has transformed Glasscock County, where he lives. “They’ve totally ruined our way of life here,” Mr. Seidenberger said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.” His sentiments sum up how many...

10/31/2014
In New York, Protections Offered for Medical Workers Joining #Ebola Fight
New York Times: New York officials announced on Thursday that they would offer employee protection and financial guarantees for health care workers joining the fight against the Ebola outbreak in three West African nations. The announcement was an effort to alleviate concerns that the state’s mandatory quarantine policy could deter desperately needed workers from traveling overseas. Under the new protections, modeled after the rights granted military reservists, workers could not suffer any pay cuts or demotions...

10/31/2014
Green Investment Bank mark 2nd birthday by passing £5bn milestone
BusinessGreen: The UK Green Investment Bank has mobilised more than £5bn of funding for new green energy infrastructure projects in the two years since its launch. The government-backed body confirmed it passed the milestone yesterday with a £5.2m transaction to help global bank Citi reduce energy use at its data centre in Lewisham, London. Launched in 2012 as the first dedicated green infrastructure bank in the world, the GIB has committed to invest in 37 new projects with £1.6bn of its own capital and it...

10/31/2014
MSF warns Liberia Ebola ‘progress’ may be illusory
Agence France-Presse: Global aid agency Doctors Without Borders urged caution on Wednesday over claims of a slowdown in infections in Ebola-hit Liberia, saying the apparent drop could be due to poor management of the sick. The warning follows an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that data from a range of sources including funeral directors and treatment centres indicated lower admission rates and burials. But the medical charity, known by its French initials MSF, warned that "mandatory cremation...

10/30/2014
Most #Ebola Patients in the U.S. Survive. Half in Africa Die. Why Are We Letting Happen?
New Republic: This week’s news on Ebola should make you breathe a sigh of relief--and seethe with anger. The news is the recovery of Amber Vinson, the nurse who got Ebola while treating Thomas Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. She left Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, free of the virus and on her way back to a normal life. The announcement came less than a week after Vinson’s colleague, Nina Pham, was discharged from the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Pham...

10/30/2014
The Best Weapon Against #Ebola in West Africa Is Winning Public Trust
Bloomberg: The fight against Ebola is taking place on two well-known fronts: on the ground in West Africa, where governments and aid groups are racing to build treatment centers; and inside the lab, where scientists are trying to create vaccines and therapies to halt transmission. A third battleground, harder to track but no less important, focuses on efforts to win trust and change the behavior of the people most at risk of spreading the virus. It’s something many global aid groups were late to. “A huge...

10/30/2014
Reported #Ebola cases jump to 13703, WHO reports
LA Times: The World Health Organization says the number of reported Ebola cases has surpassed 13,700, a jump of more than 30% since the last numbers were released four days ago. Dr. Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general of the WHO, said the big increase in cases is likely because of previous under-reporting. As of today, there have been 13,703 reported cases of Ebola, the organization tweeted, with 13,676 of those in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three most affected countries in this outbreak....

10/30/2014
#Ebola: A glimmer of hope
Economist: JUST two months ago the bodies of Ebola victims turned away from teeming treatment centres lay dead in the streets of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Now, in those same facilities, many of the beds lie empty. Could the outbreak that has so devastated the country finally be subsiding? It is too early to say for sure but Bruce Aylward, who leads the World Health Organisation’s response to the Ebola crisis, is cautiously optimistic. The number of new cases in Liberia, which has been hardest hit,...

10/30/2014
New York unveils incentives for workers in West Africa #Ebola fight
Reuters: New York officials on Thursday announced a program to encourage healthcare professionals to work in Ebola-hit West Africa, an effort to deflect criticism that the state's mandatory quarantine could hamper the battle against the disease. The program will provide financial incentives and employment protections similar to the benefits and rights provided to military reservists, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a joint statement. The 21-day mandatory...

10/30/2014
Ebola Exacerbates West Africa’s Poverty Crisis
Scientific American: When Ebola came to Dorcas's home on the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, the virus spared no one. Her mother brought it home from the clinic where she worked, caring for an Ebola patient who ultimately died. Her mother, in turn, gave the virus to Dorcas's father and older sister who had helped clean up copious vomit and diarrhea while tending to the sickened mother. Then Dorcas's turn came, when the 17-year-old young woman transported her ailing mother and father to the hospital on the family's...

10/30/2014
4 Steps Could Quell #Ebola in West Africa, Researchers Say
US News and World Report: A full-court press involving all public health tactics known to prevent Ebola transmission will be required to quell the current West African epidemic, a new study reports. Four practices in particular -- burying the Ebola-infected dead in a hygienic way, immediately isolating new patients, tracing people potentially exposed to the virus, and providing better protection for health care workers -- can stop the epidemic within six months, researchers believe. If public health officials can achieve...

10/30/2014
#Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia - WHO
Reuters: Liberia, the country worst-hit by an Ebola epidemic, may be seeing a decline in the spread of the virus, though the battle to contain the outbreak is far from won, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said the number of burials and new admissions had fallen and there was a plateau in laboratory-confirmed cases, though he cautioned against overly optimistic conclusions. "All the data point in the same direction," he told a news conference....

10/30/2014
US quarantines 'chilling' #Ebola fight in West Africa: MSF
Reuters: Mandatory quarantines ordered by some U.S. states for doctors and nurses returning from West Africa's Ebola outbreak are creating a "chilling effect" on aid work there, the humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders said on Thursday. In response to questions from Reuters, the group said it was discussing whether to shorten some assignments as a result of restrictions imposed by several states since one of its American doctors, Craig Spencer, was hospitalized in New York City last week with...

10/30/2014
Stop stigmatizing #Ebola volunteers. Americans aren’t doing enough end the epidemic.
Washington Post: The World Health Organization has warned that we must urgently scale up efforts to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa. WHO estimates that the rate of new cases will increase from 1,000 to 10,000 per week in the next two months. Though the United States has pledged to build 17 Ebola treatment units, each with 100 beds, not one unit has opened to patients yet, and it’s likely that three times as many beds will be needed. Hundreds of thousands of people may die. And as the epidemic rages in West...

10/30/2014
Stopping #Ebola: Mali Matters; Maine & Manhattan Don't
Bloomberg: This has been an attention-grabbing week for Ebola in America. Starting with the diagnosis last Thursday of Dr. Craig Spencer, a physician who returned to New York City from West Africa, and continuing with the involuntary quarantine in New Jersey of Kaci Hickox, a nurse who had similarly returned from abroad, the nation has been transfixed by the perceived risk from a tiny group of health-care professionals. Hickox made headlines today by going for a bike ride after leaving New Jersey’s quarantine...

10/30/2014
#Ebola panic: 80 percent of Americans want quarantines
Yahoo: In another sign panic over Ebola is peaking, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe travelers returning to the United States from West Africa should be quarantined until it is determined they are Ebola-free, a new CBS News poll finds. According to the poll, conducted Oct. 23-27, 80 percent of Americans support mandatory quarantines for U.S. citizens and legal residents arriving from West Africa. Just 17 percent said they believe those without symptoms should be allowed to move freely. ...

10/30/2014
Liberia's #Ebola progress real, but epidemic far from under control
Science: Two months ago, when clinician Tim Flanigan arrived in Monrovia to help Liberia combat its Ebola epidemic, it took ambulances a few days to respond to calls, dying people were turned away from designated treatment units, health care workers ran short of personal protective equipment, and dead bodies were left in the street. “There was not enough help and there was a sense that the world did not understand how grave this epidemic was,” says Flanigan, who works at Brown University and formerly headed...

10/30/2014
Australia: Direct Action is like a dodgy laundry powder that never gets the climate clean
Guardian: Direct Action is the brand name of the freshly minted Australian Government policy to try and reduce the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases. But with a name that sounds more like a dodgy box of laundry powder, Australia’s “Direct Action” is unlikely to leave the country looking any cleaner or smelling any fresher in the climate change stakes. That’s because instead of removing the many stubborn stains that fossil fuel use leaves on the planet’s climate systems, Australia’s box of Direct...

10/30/2014
Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone Not Scientists
New York Times: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican who is fighting a Democratic challenge from former Gov. Charlie Crist, was asked by The Miami Herald if he believes climate change is significantly affecting the weather. “Well, I’m not a scientist,” he said. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is locked in a tight re-election race, was asked this month by The Cincinnati Enquirer if he believes that climate change is a problem. “I’m not a scientist,” he said. House Speaker John A. Boehner, when...

10/30/2014
Revealed: bats are frequent fliers – but hang out with same crowd
Independent: They may not be the cuddliest of creatures but bats are capable of forming strong friendships, to the point of being cliquey, according to new research. The five-year study, which looked at the behaviour of the two species of bats living in Wytham Woods in Oxforshire, also confirmed that bats “move house” every few days – although usually only just down the road. Despite frequent relocations, the bats formed enduring “friendships” that in many cases lasted more than a year, with each group...

10/30/2014
Mystery of Earth's Water Origin Solved
National Geographic: The water that makes Earth a majestic blue marble was here from the time of our planet's birth, according to a new study of ancient meteorites, scientists reported Thursday. Where do the oceans come from? The study headed by Adam Sarafian of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, found that our seas may have arrived much earlier on our planet than previously thought. The study pushes back the clock on the origin of Earth's water by hundreds of millions...

10/30/2014
Ozone Hole Recovery Continues, Albeit a Little Slower
Climate Central: The ozone hole is a gash in the stratosphere, like a festering wound high above the earth's surface. Scientists first diagnosed the problem in the mid-1980s and recommended a course of action to treat the problem. And today, NASA announced that recovery has continued, though slightly slower this year compared to years past. An animation showing the ozone hole in October, the month usually following the ozone hole minimum, from 1979-2014. "This is a good story for ozone. If you look back to...

10/30/2014
#Ebola outbreak: Abbott urged send Australian health workers
BBC: The Australian government is facing more criticism for not sending health workers to Africa to help fight Ebola. A 25-bed US field hospital that will treat international health workers who contract the virus is due to open soon. The Australian government now has no excuse not to fund health workers to travel to Africa, said Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King. "It is now up to the Abbott government to act," Ms King told journalists in Canberra on Friday. Australia has so far refused...

10/30/2014
Californians will pay more for water, must still conserve: officials
Reuters: Californians face higher water prices and permanent conservation measures amid drought, global warming and population growth in a state that has long struggled to satisfy urban and agricultural needs, the administration of Governor Jerry Brown said Thursday. It will take up to $500 billion to improve the state's water infrastructure to improve supplies, reduce flood risk and shore up the fragile ecosystems that provide water for people, farms and wildlife, the state's top natural resources officials...

10/30/2014
African funeral rites are 'superspreaders' of #Ebola: study
Agence France-Presse: Traditional funeral rites in West Africa that include kissing and touching a dead body are "superspreaders" of Ebola and must be halted, researchers said Thursday. If not, Liberia can expect 224 new cases per day by the beginning of December, and 348 new Ebola infections per day by the end of December, according to the study in the journal Science. "To stem Ebola transmission in Liberia, it is imperative to simultaneously restrict traditional burials, which are effectively serving as superspreader...

10/30/2014
Why do some survive #Ebola? Sierra Leone study offers clues
Reuters: An analysis of the first Ebola cases in Sierra Leone helps draw a clearer picture of why some people survive the disease, while others do not, including their age and the pace at which the virus replicates within their body. The study published Wednesday is based on data gathered from 106 patients diagnosed with Ebola at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone from May 25 to July 18. Some of the data on this group was incinerated because of fears that the nurses' station where the records...

10/30/2014
Media Overreaction #Ebola Sending a Chill Through My Coworkers at Doctors Without Borders
New Republic: One of my colleagues is ill with Ebola that he contracted while working in West Africa for Medicines Sans Frontiers, otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Craig Spencer is having a hard enough time fighting the disease, but it’s only been made worse for him and his family by the criticism and outrage that was heaped upon him by the press, including The New Republic. It has sent a chill through other MSF field workers, whose job is challenging enough without the added burden of facing similar...

10/30/2014
#Ebola Slowing in Liberia, W.H.O. Says, but International Support Is Still Necessary
New York Times: Three months after declaring West Africa's Ebola epidemic a global emergency, the World Health Organization said Wednesday that new infections in Liberia, one of the worst affected countries, appeared to be declining. But the organization also warned against complacency in international efforts to fight the disease. The health authorities in Liberia are reporting lower numbers of new infections; treatment centers in the capital, Monrovia, that once turned away victims now have unoccupied beds;...

10/30/2014
WHO Chief Says Ebola Response 'Did Not Match' Scale of the Outbreak
Time: The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has morphed into one of our biggest health crises in years, with at least 4,900 known deaths among more than 13,000 cases and experts warning the worst could be yet to come. Despite a growing international effort to combat the virus, outside health experts say the United Nations` World Health Organization (WHO)--the only worldwide health institution--has been slow to react. They stress that there`s plenty of blame to go around, including with the U.S. and other...

10/30/2014
Ebola outbreak: 'Sixty days to save West Africa'
Independent: West Africa is 60 days away from a “humanitarian catastrophe”, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has warned, launching an unprecedented appeal to secure millions of pounds to fund the fight against Ebola. It is the first time the DEC – an umbrella group representing 13 aid organisations including Oxfam, the British Red Cross and Save the Children – has called for the support of the British people in response to a disease outbreak. Tomorrow every major broadcaster in the country will carry...

10/30/2014
China is at serious risk from #Ebola outbreak, says Peter Piot
Daily Mail: A scientist who helped to discover the Ebola virus says he is concerned the disease could spread to China given the large numbers of Chinese workers traveling to and from Africa. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said on Thursday the scenario of the deadly virus reaching China was 'not rocket science.' 'The concern I have is that I don't think you can really stop people from traveling. These patients will show up in any country in the world, but China...

10/30/2014
To stop #Ebola's spread in West Africa, target funerals: study
Reuters: As the global health community ramps up its efforts to treat Ebola patients and curb its spread in West Africa, a new analysis finds that the greatest impact would come from insuring safe burials for victims, scientists reported on Thursday. The need for safe burials has been known from the beginning of the epidemic last spring, when people who attended the funeral of a faith healer in Guinea became infected. U.S. guidelines call for workers wearing full protective gear to wrap the remains...

10/30/2014
World Bank: $100M More to Fight #Ebola in W. Africa
HealthDay: The World Bank pledged Thursday an additional $100 million in the fight against the Ebola outbreak wreaking havoc in West Africa. The money, which brings the World Bank's total pledge to more than $500 million, will be used to attract more foreign health care workers to the three hardest-hit countries -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. "The world's response to the Ebola crisis has increased significantly in recent weeks, but we still have a huge gap in getting enough trained health workers...

10/30/2014
Brazil: Rio 2016 says will offset 3.6 mln tonnes of emissions at Games
Reuters: The Rio 2016 local organizing committee set a target on Thursday to offset the total amount of greenhouse gases estimated to be produced by the world's largest multi-sport event. The Olympic Games are expected to generate 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), mostly due to traveling and accommodation of spectators, the local organizing committee (LOC) said. That number is slightly larger than what was released by the London 2012 Games, at around 3.4 million tonnes of CO2e....

10/30/2014
Salamanders Worldwide Threatened with Deadly Fungal Disease
Nature World News: Salamanders throughout Europe are getting sick from a deadly fungal disease, and it threatens to spread to the United States through the pet trade unless international efforts are taken to stop it in its tracks, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science. The toxic fungus in question, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is similar to one that has caused the extinction of hundreds of frog and toad species around the world. Now, the previously unknown fungus is killing at least a dozen European...

10/30/2014
Cold Water Reefs Fuse in a Rare Example of Deep-Sea Cooperation
Nature World: Tropical coral, the iconic face of coral life everywhere, fuse together with the help of calcareous algae that grow on the crust of the unusual animals' dead branches. However, not every species of coral colonizes in this manner. A new study on cold-water corals has found that even unrelated species can fuse in a unique process that does not require the help of a third party, making for some beautiful combinations of shape and color. Sebastian Hennige at the Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh recently...

10/30/2014
Sierra Leone’s fight against #Ebola infection: ‘The world is not safe’
Guardian: All over Freetown, buildings, vehicles and people are being commandeered in the fight against Ebola. In the suburb of Wilberforce, in an old building for the telecommunications company Airtel, a dozen students loiter on a wall waiting to relieve staff from the trauma at the Ebola hotline they are manning. Outside, the din of ambulances would not be noteworthy until the driver and passenger appear in regulation yellow overalls, mask, goggles, hood and visor. Every ambulance is now an Ebola ambulance...

10/30/2014
History of U.S. biofuel mandate provides opening for legal challenge
Reuters: Probable legal challenges to proposed cuts in the 2014 U.S. biofuel mandate could focus on a two-word phrase dropped from the U.S. law establishing the renewable fuel program back in 2005: distribution capacity. Biofuel producers have argued for months that the Environmental Protection Agency's justification for potential cuts to 2014 targets is incompatible with federal law and that the legislative history of the mandate will prove this. A bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives in April...

10/30/2014
Frack Waste Investigation Launched by Pennsylvania Congressman
EcoWatch: In light of an increasing number of studies showing that fracking produces toxic emissions that have serious human health impacts throughout the entire process, Pennsylvania Congressman Matt Cartwright, a first-term Democrat, has opened an investigation into how toxic wastes from fracking are regulated. "Preliminary reports indicate there are big gaps in protections and oversight that the federal government might have to fill," Cartwright told Inside Climate News. Fracking is big business in...

10/30/2014
How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
The Week: President Obama is sending military personnel and $750 million to Liberia and other Ebola-afflicted countries in West Africa. At this point, such aid might offer the only hope of containing this deadly epidemic -- but foreign aid also had a big hand in creating Africa's Ebola problem in the first place. How? By breeding a dependence mentality that has prevented these counties from generating their internal institutional defenses to deal with public health emergencies. Nothing illustrates this...

10/30/2014
In war on smog, struggling China steel mills adapt to survive
Reuters: Chinese steel mills, among the biggest in the world, are altering their production schedules to offset disruption from forced plant closures aimed at curbing choking air pollution during a summit of world leaders in Beijing next month. The move shows how steel mills in the world's top producer and consumer are adapting to the periodic shutdowns enforced by Beijing. Dozens of steel mills in industrial areas straddling the capital are set to shut from Nov. 1 to cut smog before leaders, including...

10/30/2014
Saving The Amazon Will Take More Than Stopping Loggers
National Public Radio: In order to save the Amazon, it's not enough for deforestation to stop; areas that have been denuded also need recuperation. A Brazilian research scientist has released a report with the World Wildlife Fund that suggested actions to curb the effect of humans on the world's largest rainforest.

10/30/2014
U.S. to monitor turtle exports in face of booming global trade
Reuters: There were lots of snickers when a Chinese-Canadian man was caught trying to leave the United States with 51 turtles hidden in his sweatpants, but the case illustrated the serious threat facing native species from the booming international turtle trade, federal scientists said on Thursday. To protect native species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule on Wednesday that would put four kinds of freshwater turtle under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered...

10/30/2014
European newts and salamanders at risk from deadly skin-eating fungus
Guardian: A craze for exotic pet newts has spread a deadly infection from Asia to Europe that could threaten to wipe out UK native amphibian species unless action is taken, scientists have warned. One of the creatures most at risk from the fungal disease is the great crested newt, already an endangered and protected species in the UK. The skin-eating fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is believed to have originated in south-east Asia, where indigenous newts and salamanders are immune to its effects....

10/30/2014
Scale of #Ebola epidemic in Guinea forces WFP into uncharted territory
Guardian: The World Food Programme (WFP) is facing an unprecedented challenge in Guinea as it struggles to halt the spread of the Ebola, feed more than 350,000 people and protect the progress made in tackling chronic child malnutrition over recent years, a senior official has warned. Elisabeth Faure, WFP’s Guinea director, said the scale of the epidemic was forcing the organisation to operate far beyond its core emergency mission of getting $25m (£15.5m) of food to at least 353,000 people. As well as...

10/30/2014
Deadly fungus killing British newts after spread from east Asia
Independent: The international trade in pet newts and salamanders has spread a deadly skin fungus from east Asia to Europe, posing a further threat to the endangered great-crested newt of Britain, scientists said. A previously unknown fungus called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans was first discovered last year and a survey of more than 5,000 amphibians across the world has revealed its global spread from its native Asia. Scientists believe the pet trade has helped the fungus to spread from Thailand, Vietnam,...

10/30/2014
Miles of Gulf Seafloor Slick with Oil from BP Spill
Nature World: Back in 2010, the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill gushed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but where a lot of that oil ended up remained a mystery. Now however, a large amount of that elusive oil has been found, coating miles of the Gulf seafloor, according to new research. Between two and 16 percent of the total oil spilled sits just within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of the BP-operated Macondo well responsible for the environmental disaster. "This analysis provides us...

10/30/2014
Fewer Grizzlies Are Dying at Yellowstone
Nature World: Grizzly bears are making a comeback in Yellowstone National Park, according to a recent assessment of the threatened beasts. And this recovery has a lot to do with the fact that fewer grizzlies are dying in and around the park. Now officials are even considering lifting protections for the hardy animal. That's because during meeting of state and federal wildlife agencies in Montana on Wednesday, scientists said a new counting method indicates that roughly 1,000 grizzlies are living in the Yellowstone...

10/30/2014
Low oxygen 'delayed life on Earth'
BBC: There's been much debate about why animals took so long to evolve and thrive on Earth. Now scientists say it was due to incredibly low levels of oxygen on Earth more than a billion years ago. A team determined the chemical composition of ancient rocks to find there was about 0.1% of the oxygen levels present compared with today. The researchers present their work in Science journal. Why complex life took so long to appear on the scene has puzzled scientists for many years. It was only...

10/30/2014
High Levels Dangerous Chemicals Found Air Near Oil & Gas Sites
National Geographic: Dirk DeTurck had a years-old rash that wouldn't go away, his wife's hair came out in chunks, and anytime they lingered outside their house for more than an hour, splitting headaches set in. They were certain the cause was simply breathing the air in Greenbrier, Arkansas, the rural community to which they'd retired a decade ago. They blamed the gas wells around them. But state officials didn't investigate. So DeTurck leapt at the chance to help with research that posed a pressing question: What's...

10/30/2014
Australia and climate change: When voting fails, divest
Asian Correspondent: Last week’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher featured an interview with Harvard University Student and activist Chloe Maxmin on the power of student-led divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Divestment is not simply “giving up on voting”, but rather using another tool in the array of options for democratic influence on what is a) happening to our planet and b) what our own money is being used for. The goals of Divest Harvard are for the “number one” university in the world to stop any further...

10/30/2014
Obama fires back at #Ebola policy critics: 'We can't hermetically seal ourselves off'
Washington Post: President Obama, flanked by American medical personnel who have either recently returned from fighting Ebola in West Africa or are en route to the region, shot back Wednesday at critics who have said the United States should impose further restrictions on travel from nations affected by the virus. "When I hear people talking about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me...

10/30/2014
Obama: No hiding under the covers on #Ebola
Politico: President Barack Obama took aim Wednesday at politicians across the spectrum who continue to call for tougher rules on quarantines and travel bans on people returning to the United States from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. "When I hear people talking about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated,' Obama said in the East Room of the White...

10/30/2014
Obama on #Ebola: 'We can't hermetically seal ourselves off'
MSNBC: President Obama on Wednesday hailed U.S. health care workers fighting Ebola in West Africa as the embodiment of American exceptionalism--and took a shot at critics he described as thinking “we should hide from these problems.” The president stressed that travel bans and quarantines would not stop Ebola from being a threat to the U.S. ”The truth is until we stop this outbreak in West Africa, we may continue to see individual cases in America in the weeks and months ahead. Because that’s the nature...

10/30/2014
Obama urges Americans to honor aid workers fighting #Ebola in Africa
LA Times: President Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to set aside their fears of the Ebola virus and make sure U.S. healthcare workers who go to West Africa are “applauded, thanked and supported” when they return home. If those workers are successful in fighting the virus at the source of the outbreak, he said, “we don’t have to worry about it here.” “They are doing God’s work over there,” Obama said, “and they are doing that to keep us safe.” In a statement scheduled at the last minute, the president...

10/30/2014
Obama applauds US health workers in Africa #Ebola fight
Deutsche-Welle: Barack Obama has hailed health workers battling Ebola. The US president is seeking to reassure the public amid controversy over quarantine measures imposed by some authorities. Speaking after meeting with returned health workers including Kent Brantly, an American doctor infected with Ebola in Liberia, Obama said US officials should applaud volunteers for their service. The president's remarks follow controversy about measures taken by officials in New Jersey and New York to quarantine health...

10/30/2014
WHO: #Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia
Al Jazeera: Health agency sees fall in number of burials and slowing rate of new cases but says outbreak still not under control. Last updated: 29 Oct 2014 20:12 The WHO has been rushing to help organise bed spaces to take care of Ebola patients in treatment centres [AFP] Liberia may be seeing a decline in the spread of Ebola, with falls in the number of burials and new admissions as well as a plateau in laboratory-confirmed cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. "Do we feel confident that...

10/30/2014
Don't Let #Ebola Dehumanize Africa
New York Times: A few days ago, I posted a note on Facebook about my scheduled concert next week at Carnegie Hall honoring the late South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was known widely as Mama Africa. I was saddened to see the following comments appear: “Instead of mama africa it should be mama ebola” and “I wonder if she is bringing aby Ebloa [sic] with her?” Overnight it seems that all the naïve and evil preconceptions about Africa have surfaced again. Ebola has brought back the fears and fantasies of Africa...

10/30/2014
A Conservationist Sees Signs Hope for the World Rainforests
Yale 360: In the mid-1990s I visited a magnificent tract of lowland rainforest in Malaysian Borneo. Some of my fondest memories are from that forest: hiking under the towering trees, wading in the crystal-clear streams, and delighting in its spectacular wildlife, including hornbills and endangered orangutans. But a few months after my visit, those trees were torn down, and the forest was obliterated. Today that area is an oil palm plantation. The destruction of that forest set me on an odyssey that led...

10/30/2014
Hot enough? Things are going to get hotter in Australia
Sydney Morning Herald: Australia's unusually hot and dry weather is set to extend well into summer with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting increased risks of bushfires and heatwaves. The bureau's latest three-month outlooks for temperature and rainfall covering the November-January period indicate the likelihood of drier-than-normal conditions across most of eastern Australia, particularly the north-east. For Sydney, the immediate forecast is for mostly dry weather, with a maximum 31 degrees reached on Thursday...

10/30/2014
Climate change a 'threat multiplier' for farming-dependent nations: Report
Reuters: Climate change and food insecurity are "threat multipliers", and 32 countries dependent on farming face an "extreme risk" of conflict or civil unrest in the next 30 years, a global analytics firm said on Wednesday. Food shortages and rising prices have the potential to worsen political, ethnic, class and religious tensions, the risk advisory firm Maplecroft reported in its annual "Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas (CCERA)". Analysts noted that several nations' military leaders are ahead...

10/30/2014
Two years on: Sandy inspires storm of climate research
Climate Central: The two years that have passed since Hurricane Sandy crashed into the New Jersey shoreline have not been enough time for scientists and researchers to make much headway on the hows and whys of the Northeast's epic storm. But that's not because they aren't trying. In fact, Sandy has spurred an unprecedented amount of research, attempting to tackle the questions about what role climate change might have played in producing or worsening the storm, how global warming might influence similar storms...

10/30/2014
Global groundwater crisis may get worse as the world warms
Mashable: From India to Texas, people are rapidly depleting their valuable stores of groundwater -- leading to the possibility that aquifers may be emptied within decades, a NASA researcher has warned. In a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature Climate Change, Jay Famiglietti, who has helped lead the use of a NASA satellite system to detect groundwater changes around the world, warned of dramatic consequences to come if changes are not made to the way that societies manage water supplies....

10/30/2014
Toxic chemicals, carcinogens skyrocket near fracking sites
US News World Report: Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous" cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic fracturing sites. “This is a significant public health risk,” says Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health. “Cancer...

10/30/2014
Fracking may release cancer-causing air pollution - study
RTCC: Fracking wells may release cancer-causing chemicals into the air, a community science study has found. Residents trained to take air quality samples recorded high levels of benzene, hydrogen sulphide and formaldehyde near shale gas extraction sites in the US. While based on a small number of samples, the study published in Environmental Health adds a new set of potential health threats to fracking’s rap sheet. Lead researcher David Carpenter, from the University at Albany, New York, said...

10/30/2014
Weather Channel backpedals after co-founder said humans aren't causing climate change
Daily Mail: The Weather Channel has released an official statement arguing that man-made global warming is real, just days its co-founder said it does not exist. The group claims said the planet is 'indeed warming,' with temperatures increasing 1 to 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6°C to 0.9°C) in the last 100 years. The Atlanta-based channel also states humans are helping make the planet warmer as a result of burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Scroll down for video The Weather Channel has released...

10/30/2014
Methane emissions may swell from behind dams
Climate Central: Imagine nearly 6,000 dairy cows doing what cows do, belching and being flatulent for a full year. That's how much methane was emitted from one Ohio reservoir in 2012. Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don't burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world's largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions? Harsha Lake, a large reservoir near Cincinnati, Ohio, emitted...

10/30/2014
#Ebola crisis: Infections 'slowing in Liberia'
BBC: The World Health Organization (WHO) says there has been a decline in the spread of Ebola in Liberia, the country hardest hit in the outbreak. The WHO's Bruce Aylward said it was confident the response to the virus was now gaining the upper hand. But he warned against any suggestion that the crisis was over. The WHO later said the number of cases globally had risen more than 3,000 to 13,703 since its last report, but that this was due to reporting reasons. The number of deaths was put at 4,920,...

10/30/2014
Obama on #Ebola fight: US can't seal itself off
Associated Press: Pushing to confront Ebola at its West African source, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States was not immune to the disease but cautioned against discouraging American health care workers with restrictive measures that confine them upon their return from the afflicted region. "We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he declared. Obama said doctors and nurses from the United States who have volunteered to fight Ebola in West Africa are American heroes who must be treated with dignity...

10/30/2014
IPCC preparing 'most important' document climate change
BBC: Scientists and officials are meeting in Denmark to edit what's been termed the "most important document" on climate change. The IPCC Synthesis Report will summarise the causes and impacts of - and solutions to - rising temperatures. It will be the bedrock of talks on a new global climate deal. But there are concerns that political battles could neuter the final summary. Over the past 13 months, the IPCC has released three major reports on the physical science, the impacts and the potential...

10/30/2014
New research quantifies what's causing sea level to rise
Guardian: There have been a number of studies that have come out recently on ocean warming and sea-level rise. Collectively, they are helping scientists coalesce around an emerging understanding of climate change and its impact on the Earth. Most recently, a study by scientists Sarah Purkey, Gregory Johnson, and Don Chambers was published. This team was responsible for a 2010 paper that was groundbreaking in that it quantified very deep (abyssal) sea warming. This latest paper is, in some respects, a continuation...

10/30/2014
British companies lag Americans fighting deforestation
BusinessGreen: In a world of disruptive innovations, no company wants to be left behind or caught looking the other way. But that's exactly what's happened to leading British companies when it comes to deforestation driven by palm oil and other commodities. During the last year, many American consumer companies have adopted strong policies to stop unsustainable palm oil expansion that every two years destroys an area of tropical rainforest the size of England. Prominent US companies like Safeway, Kellogg, Johnson...

10/30/2014
#Ebola: Danger in Sierra Leone, Progress in Liberia
Associated Press: Liberia is making some progress in containing the Ebola outbreak while Sierra Leone is "in a crisis situation which is going to get worse," the top anti-Ebola officials in the two countries said. The people of both countries must redouble efforts to stop the disease, which has infected more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000, the officials said. Their assessments underscore that Ebola remains a constant threat until the outbreak is wiped out. It can appear to be on the wane, only to re-emerge...

10/30/2014
Kaci Hickox, Maine heading to legal showdown over #Ebola quarantine
Associated Press: A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health-care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for a bike ride. Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend stepped out of their Fort Kent, Me., home Thursday morning and rode away on mountain bikes, followed by state police cruiser. Police were monitoring her movements and public interactions but couldn't detain her without a court order signed by a judge. Hickox contends there's no need...

10/30/2014
Ice Age Extinctions Could Predict Modern Die-Offs
LiveScience: During the last Ice Age, huge mammals roamed North America. Those mammoths, saber-toothed cats and giant sloths disappeared about 12,000 years ago -- the same time as humans arrived and Earth's climate warmed from its glacial chill. Scientists have long debated the cause of the mass extinction, whether humans or climate change. But now, researchers are beginning to turn from investigating the cause to better understanding its impact. The loss of so many of those large species, or megafauna, could...

10/30/2014
Regreening program to restore one-sixth of Ethiopia's land
Guardian: Fifteen years years ago the villages around Abrha Weatsbha in northern Ethiopia were on the point of being abandoned. The hillsides were barren, the communities, plagued by floods and droughts, needed constant food aid, and the soil was being washed away. Today, Abrha Weatsbha in the Tigray region is unrecognisable and an environmental catastrophe has been averted following the planting of many millions of tree and bush seedlings. Wells that were dry have been recharged, the soil is in better shape,...

10/30/2014
The U.S. is losing the battle to predict the next Hurricane Sandy
Mashable: Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall near Brigantine, New Jersey, on Oct. 29, 2012, was a showcase of modern weather forecasting -- but not necessarily one enabled by American engineering. The storm shined a spotlight on the superiority of a computer model run by a European weather center, known as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), which, more than a week in advance, pinpointed Sandy's infamous left hook track directly into New Jersey. Now, two years after that...

10/30/2014
China's growth-obsessed officials ignoring green policies: parliament
Reuters: Local officials determined to make their economies bigger at any cost are ignoring Beijing's push to cut hazardous air pollution, opting instead to expand heavy industries and cut clean energy from the grid, a Chinese parliamentary report said. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, dispatched a team of inspectors to 10 cities and provinces from May to September to oversee the implementation of new pollution policies. The team found some local officials...

10/30/2014
Australia divestment war shows investment is now the main climate change battleground
Guardian: For those following the rapid change in the climate change debate towards a more financial system orientation, a remarkable situation is unfolding in Australia that will act as a pointer to future developments elsewhere. In response to the fossil fuel free divestment campaign, the pride of the Australian education system, the Australian National University (ANU), finally caved to pressure and decided to engage the services of a socially responsible investment analyst firm to look at climate change...

10/30/2014
Why you should bother to read the IPCC synthesis report
RTCC: In a capital city somewhere in a country beyond our own, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meets to finalise a report summarising the state of knowledge on climate change. This Synthesis Report is the fourth and final element of the fifth Assessment Report in the IPCC’s 26-year existence. That’s a lot of final weeks and a lot of reports. To add to the feeling of déjà vu, deliberations are taking place in Copenhagen – and we all know what happened there five years ago. So...

10/30/2014
Chuck Hagel: We Should Worry About Climate Change Like We Worry About ISIS
Huffington Post: The Islamic State may be the most immediate challenge facing the Defense Department, but Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that one of the biggest long-term security threats to the U.S. isn't a terrorist group. It's climate change. "From my perspective, within the portfolio that I have responsibility for -- security of this country -- climate change presents security issues for us," Hagel said during remarks at the Washington Ideas Forum. "This is critically important that we pay attention to...

10/30/2014
Solar Grid Parity In All 50 US States By 2016, Predicts Deutsche Bank
Clean Technica: Rooftop solar PV will reach grid parity in 50 US states by 2016 – up from just 10 now – setting the scene for a dramatic increase in the uptake in household and commercial rooftop solar in the world’s biggest economy. That’s the prediction of Vishal Shah, the leading solar industry analyst at Deutsche Bank, who says that declining system costs, customer acquisition costs, financing costs and rising volumes should drive significant scale benefits . Shah’s prediction was included in his first...

10/30/2014
#Ebola death toll remains steady
Deutsche-Welle: The World Health Organization said late Wednesday that the Ebola death toll remained unchanged at around 4,922. The WHO's latest update was released after the available data had been revised, and suspect and probable cases of the virus were discarded following laboratory tests. This saw the death toll in Liberia reduced by almost 300. The UN health agency made the announcement following a news briefing in Geneva. Ebola "slowing" in Liberia Senior WHO official Dr. Bruce Aylward said earlier...

10/30/2014
Plans for giant Antarctic marine reserve falter for fourth time
Guardian: A plan to protect a vast swath of ocean off Antarctica by creating the world’s largest marine reserve appeared headed for failure for the fourth time. The countries that make decisions about Antarctic fishing finish a 10-day meeting on Friday in Hobart, Australia. Most favor a US-New Zealand proposal to ban most fishing in a sanctuary sprawling across 1.34m sq km (517,000 square miles) in the Ross Sea. But all countries must agree, which they have failed to do at three previous meetings....

10/30/2014
Combing the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases
ScienceDaily: By remotely "combing" the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have developed a new technique that can accurately measure -- over a sizeable distance -- amounts of several of the major "greenhouse" gases implicated in climate change. The technique potentially could be used in several ways to support research on...

10/30/2014
Dozens Volunteers Have Come Back Safe From #Ebola Hot Zone
NBC: Close to 50 volunteers have come back safe and well from the Ebola hot zone in West Africa, aid agencies tell NBC News, even as states debate whether to force such workers into quarantine. A look at the numbers from groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the International Medical Corps shows just about 150 people have gone to help fight the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Of them, 47 have returned symptom-free. President Barack Obama greeted many of the volunteers in the White...

10/30/2014
Climate Change Concerns Push Chile to Forefront of Carbon Tax Movement
New York Times: These are rough times for carbon taxes, aimed at mitigating climate change. Australia recently repealed its carbon tax. South Korea delayed a carbon-based tax on vehicle emissions. South Africa put off a planned carbon tax until 2016. And yet, for environmentalists, a sliver of hope exists in the shape of Chile, one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, which last month approved the first carbon tax in South America. The measure, due to take effect in 2018, was part of a broad overhaul of...

10/30/2014
Oil price declines have small-cap shale investors scrambling
Reuters: Plummeting oil prices are pushing some of the small-cap companies which flourished as part of the U.S. shale energy boom close to their breaking point, while also prompting some well-known fund managers to aggressively buy energy stocks. Concerns about slowing growth in Europe and a stronger dollar have helped push the price of light crude oil down about 25 percent since June to about $82 a barrel, creeping closer to the average marginal cost of crude production of about $73 a barrel for U.S....

10/30/2014
After Fukushima, Japan gets green boom and glut
Associated Press: Like other Japanese who were banking on this country's sweeping move toward clean energy, Junichi Oba is angry. Oba, a consultant, had hoped to supplement his future retirement income in a guilt-free way and invested $200,000 in a 50 kilowatt solar-panel facility, set up earlier this year in a former rice paddy near his home in southwestern Japan. But Kyushu Electric Power Co., the utility to which he must sell his electricity, has recently placed on hold all new applications for getting on...

10/29/2014
Transitioning to Urban Resilience
EcoWatch: If current trends continue, by 2050 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, according to the Action4Climate video competition film Rotterdam—The Transition to Urban Resilience. Filmmaker Lieke ‘t Gilde says it’s time to recognize the city as a natural ecosystem in order to meet human needs now and in the future. Gilde says that “nature-based and innovative solutions are essential for a sustainable future for cities all over the planet.” The film takes place in Rotterdam, the second-largest...

10/29/2014
Obama's #Ebola Message: Calm Down, We've Got This
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama revived a familiar message Tuesday in his brief statement on the U.S. response to the Ebola virus: Calm down, we've got this. It's a common response from the president–one that has garnered its share of criticism and eye rolls as his administration has dealt with crises, real or otherwise, throughout his nearly six years in office. Yet it helps explain the series of policy decisions his administration has made in the weeks since the first confirmed case of Ebola reached...

10/29/2014
Obama Warns That Acting on Fear Hampers #Ebola Response
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama said unneeded quarantines imposed by states on doctors and nurses who’ve helped fight Ebola in West Africa may discourage more from volunteering, putting at risk the critical effort to stem the outbreak at its source. Seeking to quell a debate about whether to isolate medical workers returning from the Ebola-stricken region, Obama said yesterday that the country must support “the incredible heroism” of those who combat the often-fatal virus. While Obama didn’t directly...

10/29/2014
Australian Ebola 'tsar' questions government's West Africa visa ban
Reuters: Australia's newly appointed Ebola tsar challenged the government's blanket ban on visas from West African nations affected by the deadly virus, saying the controversial measure was not supported by medical evidence. Opposition groups hit out at the ban, calling the conservative government's move mean-spirited and small-minded. Australia came under fire from health experts and rights advocates on Tuesday after it said that it would stop issuing visas to citizens of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia,...

10/29/2014
Disorder among states' #Ebola strategies raises worries
LA Times: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on dealing with travelers from Ebola-stricken regions Monday, but its lack of firm rules left a patchwork of state-by-state strategies that include mandatory quarantines for some travelers. The different rules among states, and the CDC's recommendation of looser monitoring than what is being carried out in several states, highlight what some public health experts said was the problem with the current system. States...

10/29/2014
African Nurses Fight a Lonely War Against #Ebola War
RYOT: Shunned by their families and kicked out of their homes, the African health care workers treating Ebola are, as they say, fighting their own war. As of this month, over 10,000 cases have been reported in West Africa -- almost 4,000 of which were in Sierra Leone. Nurses at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Western Rural Area, Sierra Leone, are risking their lives and their livelihoods to care for others. They say they haven’t been paid in two weeks, and that passion is what drives them...

10/29/2014
CDC: New Restrictions for Those at High Ebola Risk
Associated Press: U.S. health officials are recommending that people who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola avoid commercial travel or attending large public gatherings, even if they have no symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the updated advice to state and local officials on Monday. The CDC guidance comes after the governors of New York and New Jersey announced mandatory quarantines for medical workers returning from three West African countries plagued by the worst...

10/29/2014
White House: Quarantine orders shouldn't 'burden' health workers
Hill: The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is releasing new guidelines on Monday for healthcare workers returning from three Ebola-ravaged countries in Africa as the government grapples with how to keep the virus from spreading without locking up doctors and nurses. It’s unclear whether the guidelines will be binding on states and other local governments, however. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said local officials would have “broad authority” to impose their own quarantine policies....

10/29/2014
#Ebola: west African expats in Australia fear for relatives caught up in epidemic
Guardian: The Australian government’s measures to restrict visas for people from Ebola-affected countries are of secondary concern to expatriate west Africans reeling from the deaths of relatives, according to community advocates in Queensland. Joyce Taylor, a Liberian-born staffer at the independent migrant settlement organisation Multicultural Development Association (MDA), told Guardian Australia one compatriot who lives in Brisbane had lost 10 relatives to the disease. She said the man was one of...

10/29/2014
Sending Australian doctors to fight Ebola in #West Africa 'difficult'
Australian: QUEENSLAND’S chief health officer has warned it would be “very, very difficult” to safely send a team of Australian doctors to West Africa to fight Ebola. Jeannette Young has been briefing Queensland health workers, their unions and airport staff yesterday and today about the state’s contingency plans should an Ebola case be confirmed. Queensland has had three Ebola scares, two of which have been declared false alarms. The third, that of an 18-year-old woman who developed a low-grade fever after...

10/29/2014
How Africa And Africans Are Responding To #Ebola
Forbes: This is a three-part series to explore the efforts and highlight the work that Africans are undertaking to curb the spread of the Ebola virus, particularly in the hardest hit region of West Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola has infected over 10,000 people and claimed the lives of nearly 5,000, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. While the media and majority of people are talking about Ebola, the conversations about Ebola-affected countries and Africa in general...


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