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

05/26/2015
Dust, TB and HIV: the ugly face of mining in South Africa
Guardian: Worried that his eyes and urine were turning a deep yellow, Gednezar Dladla made his way to a local clinic and was referred to a district hospital, where he was x-rayed, diagnosed with gallstones, and admitted for the night. Both institutions receive funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A day later, Dladla set off through the hills and valleys of rural Zululand to a village near his childhood home, where a group of men played cards in the shade of a tree. The...

05/26/2015
Company behind giant telescope on Mauna Kea moves forward amid talks
Associated Press: Aside from the ongoing standstill atop Mauna Kea, those behind the Thirty Meter Telescope are moving forward with the $1.4 billion project. "While construction of the observatory itself has been halted, the project has not been canceled," TMT International Observatory Board Member Michael Bolte said in an email to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Tuesday. During the downtime, Bolte said TMT has been talking with community leaders to find a path where the parties can move forward together. "That said,...

05/26/2015
Addressing Global Warming Claims
Dissident Voice: Unless you are a new arrival from another planet, you have probably heard or read at least one of the following claims (among other possibilities): Global warming is occurring--or, conversely, is not occurring. (Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has, for example, referred to global warming believers as “alarmists,” and has “compared people who think that the climate is warming to ‘flat-Earthers’ and described himself as a modern-day Galileo in an interview with the Texas Tribune.”) Global warming...

05/25/2015
Morocco's majestic cedars threatened by climate change
Agence France-Presse: The cedar tree, considered by many to be Morocco's national treasure, is coming under attack from climate change, greedy humans who indulge in illegal logging, and monkeys. The noble conifer Cedrus Atlantica covers about 134,000 hectares (330,000 acres) of the North African country. Although less well-known than its Lebanese cousin Cedrus Libani, the Moroccan cedar is still a potent symbol of national pride. The cedars cover vast stretches of Morocco's mountainous Middle Atlas, near the town of...

05/25/2015
'Loud wakeup call' over rare dolphin
BBC: The smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world could be extinct within 15 years if protection is not stepped up, new research suggests. Conservationists say the remaining population of Maui's dolphins has dropped below 50. The critically endangered species is found only in waters off New Zealand. Measures to prevent dolphins dying in fishing nets must be extended, according to the German conservation organisation Nabu. Fishing should be banned across the dolphin's entire habitat...

05/25/2015
Governor says deadly flooding is worst ever seen in Texas area
Reuters: Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday likened the ferocity of flash flooding that killed at least three people to a tsunami, and authorities said a dam had given way in a state park. Abbott declared states of disaster in 24 counties and flew over the area south of Austin to assess the damage caused by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electricity. "This is the biggest flood this area of Texas...

05/25/2015
2007 report warned about risks Mauna Kea telescope
Associated Press: A 2007 report warned about the risks involved in developing a giant telescope on Mauna Kea. The report by a Colorado firm hired to evaluate the risks warned that building the Thirty Meter Telescope would come with stiff resistance from Native Hawaiians, lawsuits and regulatory hurdles. While the report didn`t predict a new generation of Hawaiians taking the opposition to a new level, it gives some insight into what`s happening now, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported Monday (http://ow.ly/NpEmF...

05/25/2015
U.S., Canada & Mexico create new climate change partnership
Reuters: North American energy ministers said on Monday they had set up a working group on climate change and energy, a partnership designed to help Canada, the United States and Mexico harmonize policies. The partnership does not include binding targets, but will enhance cooperation and integrate more climate change-related policies into energy discussions between the countries, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said during a conference call. All three governments said they will prioritize...

05/25/2015
Oil company bosses' bonuses linked $1tn spending extracting fossil fuels
Guardian: Bosses at the world’s big five oil companies have been showered with bonus payouts linked to a $1tn (£650bn) crescendo of spending on fossil fuel exploration and extraction over nine years, according to Guardian analysis of company reports. The unprecedented push to bring untapped reserves into production, and to exploit new and undiscovered fields, involves some of the most complex feats of engineering ever attempted. It also reflects how confident ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP are...

05/25/2015
How to keep wind turbines turning
Guardian: Wind turbines are becoming a familiar feature in the British landscape, and last year nearly 10% of the UK’s electricity demand was met by wind power (compared with 1.5% in 2007). The UK is considered to be one of the best locations in the world for wind power, but what happens when the wind fails to blow? The unreliability of wind is one of the most common criticisms of this form of power, but a new study shows that if you arrange your turbines carefully you can almost always catch a breeze. If...

05/25/2015
In Drought-Ridden Taiwan, Residents Adapt To Life With Less Water
National Public Radio: In Taiwan, businesses and residents have been learning to adapt to life with less water. The island country is coping with its worst drought in decades.

05/25/2015
Flash Flooding Texas, Oklahoma After Record Rainfall
National Public Radio: Severe storms are creating massive flooding in Texas, Oklahoma and throughout the Great Plains. Meteorologists say this downpour most likely ended the years long drought for that portion of the West — but it comes at a high cost.

05/25/2015
Probing climate change winners, losers among state's wildlife
Worcester Telegram: Will there be a time when the state’s official bird will be driven out of the commonwealth because it will no longer be able to survive in a changing climate? In a 2008 paper on the possible changes to our environment caused by climate change, John A. O’Leary, assistant director of wildlife for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the agency’s Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator, posed that question. “We at Fisheries and Wildlife have a duty to protect wildlife and address...

05/25/2015
Arctic activist spent 66 hours suspended anchor said nature inspired cont protest
Independent: The activist who spent 66 hours suspended from the anchor of an oil exploration vessel has said she took strength during her protest from looking at the wildlife surrounding her. Chiara D’Angelo attached herself on Friday evening to the anchor of the Arctic Challenger as it moored north of Seattle. The ship is among those that Royal Dutch Shell intend to use as they drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off northwestern Alaska later this summer. Ms D’Angelo ended her protest at around 9.30m. Speaking...

05/25/2015
Florida needs action on climate change
Tampa Bay Times: An Associated Press review of thousands of documents and emails shows the state has yet to offer a clear plan or coordination on addressing rising sea levels, despite chronic flooding along Florida's coastline from storm surges and higher tides. It has yet to address the increasing problem of saltwater intrusion into drinking water wells, which has cities and counties scrambling to find new sources of fresh drinking water. And the AP review blamed this not merely on indifference but on the mindset...

05/25/2015
Texas governor declares states of emergency, more severe weather expected
Reuters: The governor of Texas on Monday declared states of disaster in 24 counties, citing the severe weather and flash flooding that have killed at least two people. The state has been pounded by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electrical power. In declaring the states of disaster in 24 counties, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “The State of Texas has taken brisk action in dispatching all available...

05/25/2015
Location matters in the lowland Amazon
ScienceDaily: You know the old saying: Location, location, location? It turns out that it applies to the Amazon rainforest, too. New work from Carnegie's Greg Asner illustrates a hidden tapestry of chemical variation across the lowland Peruvian Amazon, with plants in different areas producing an array of chemicals that changes across the region's topography. His team's work is published by Nature Geoscience. "Our findings tell us that lowland Amazon forests are far more geographically sorted than we once thought,"...

05/25/2015
Team pinpoints genes that make plant stem cells, revealing origin of beefsteak tomatoes
ScienceDaily: A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has identified a set of genes that control stem cell production in tomato. Mutations in these genes explain the origin of mammoth beefsteak tomatoes. More important, the research suggests how breeders can fine-tune fruit size in potentially any fruit-bearing crop. The research appears online in Nature Genetics. In its original, wild form the tomato plant produces tiny, berry-sized fruits. Yet among the first tomatoes brought to Europe...

05/25/2015
Environ activist spends 3 nights attached anchor Arctic Challenger
Independent: A female activist has spent three nights suspended from the anchor of a ship that is to be used in a controversial operation to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Chiara D’Angelo, 20, attached herself to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger on Friday night, saying she wanted to draw attention to ship's role in the drilling operation. Royal Dutch Shell intends to use the ship as a support vessel when it carries out exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off northwestern Alaska, this summer....

05/25/2015
World leaders missed chance to tackle climate change, says economist
Guardian: World leaders missed the perfect opportunity to tackle climate change during the global economic crisis, according to the influential economist and academic Lord Stern. The author of the seminal 2006 Stern review on the economics of climate change also criticised what he called a strange and anti-science wing of the Conservative party for putting the brakes on their leaders making progress on the issue in the UK. Stern told an audience at the Hay festival the economic and technological conditions...

05/25/2015
More than 500 people killed as heat wave bakes parts of India
Reuters: Soaring temperatures have gripped parts of southern and northern India in an extreme heat wave which has killed more than 500 people and looks set to continue this week, officials said on Monday. The hottest place in India was Allahabad, a city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which saw mercury rise to 47.7 degrees Celsius (117.8 Fahrenheit) on Sunday, while the capital Delhi recorded a high of 43.5C (110.3F). Most of the 539 recorded deaths have been of construction workers, the elderly...

05/25/2015
Study: Europeans to suffer more ragweed with global warming
Associated Press: Global warming will bring much more sneezing and wheezing to Europe by mid-century, a new study says. Ragweed pollen levels are likely to quadruple for much of Europe because warmer temperatures will allow the plants to take root more, and carbon dioxide will make them grow more, says a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Other factors not related to man-made climate change will also contribute. Ragweed isn't native to Europe, but was imported from America in the late...

05/25/2015
Biodiversity: 11 new species come to light in Madagascar
ScienceDaily: Madagascar is home to extraordinary biodiversity, but in the past few decades, the island's forests and associated biodiversity have been under greater attack than ever. Rapid deforestation is affecting the biotopes of hundreds of species, including the panther chameleon, a species with spectacular intra-specific colour variation. A new study by Michel Milinkovitch, professor of genetics, evolution, and biophysics at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), led in close collaboration with colleagues in...

05/25/2015
Malawi forests shrink as power deficit fuels charcoal business
Reuters: Impoverished villagers are hacking down Malawi's forests to make charcoal, undeterred by government efforts to confiscate the dirty fuel as a power deficit stokes demand. Only 9 percent of the southern African country's population have access to electricity, ensuring a good market for the charcoal produced by communities living near forests. The fuel is sold mainly in urban and semi-urban areas where even those who do have a power connection cannot afford electricity for cooking. Alex Thom, standing...

05/25/2015
Global Warming Biggest Risk to Australia's Great Barrier Reef
Sputnik: Global warming poses the greatest risk to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt, said Monday. "Climate change is the single biggest long-term risk to the reef," Reichelt told a parliamentary inquiry hearing, days before United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization makes a decision on whether the reef will be placed on the "endangered list," as quoted by Financial Review....

05/25/2015
UN chief seeks 'global action' on climate change this year
Agence France-Presse: UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday called for "global action" this year to limit climate change as international weather experts began a quadrennial congress in Geneva. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) meeting comes ahead of a key conference in Paris at the end of the year which will be the first attempt to clinch a planet-wide deal on global warming since the near-disastrous 2009 UN summit in Copenhagen. The Paris accord, which would take effect from 2020, would aim at limiting global warming...

05/25/2015
Paris can't be another Copenhagen
New York Times: As a former prime minister of Australia, I understand something of the political costs leaders must bear in aiming to reconcile the long-term interests of the planet with short-term national interests. After attending the 2009 Copenhagen summit on climate change, I was attacked back home for either doing too much or too little in trying to bring about a binding global agreement. We all failed at Copenhagen, though not for want of effort from many of us. The United Nations conference in Paris...

05/25/2015
Rutgers urged to cancel ocean blasting off New Jersey coast
Associated Press: The New Jersey Senate president and a congressman representing the Jersey shore are asking Rutgers University to cancel planned research that involves blasting the ocean floor with sound waves. Senate President Steve Sweeney and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. wrote to Rutgers President Robert Barchi on Friday, saying the testing will harm or kill marine animals, including turtles, dolphins and whales, and will harm New Jersey's crucial tourism industry. The research is scheduled to start in June off...

05/25/2015
Ireland should lead way climate smart farming, says ecology expert
Irish Times: Ireland should become a global leader in encouraging countries to produce more food in a sustainable way while reducing emissions, climate change expert Bruce Campbell has said. Dr Campbell said he believed no country was taking the need for emissions reductions seriously but soon they would have no choice. “We’re essentially on target for a four degree-warmer world at the moment and it’s going to make some parts of the world unlivable. For example, sub-Saharan Africa is going to be in real trouble...

05/25/2015
Coal retirements to more than double under Clean Power Plan
EnergyWire: A new analysis from the federal government's energy statisticians finds the Obama administration's plan to reduce the power sector's heat-trapping carbon emissions would raise electricity prices 4.9 percent above their current trajectory by 2020. The Energy Information Administration will release projections today that the draft rule would spur a quick wave of coal plant retirements -- 90 gigawatts, rather than 40 GW, between 2014 and 2040. Most of the power plant retirements would happen by 2020,...

05/25/2015
Officials will evaluate impacts of Colowyo Mine
Denver Post: Federal mining officials are moving ahead with a new environmental assessment on coal mining operations at the Colowyo Mine near Craig, including the impacts of greenhouse gases on climate change. On May 8, a federal district court ruling found the environmental assessment done in 2006 for the expansion of the mine on federal lands was insufficient. Judge R. Brooke Jackson gave the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement 120 days to address the issues. One of the major deficiencies...

05/25/2015
Anti-Monsanto protesters gather Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis Public Radio: Missouri Botanical Garden visitors were greeted by flashes of color even before they saw Chinese lantern displays Saturday morning. About 70 anti-Monsanto protesters lined the sidewalks outside the garden, some carrying 3-D monarch butterfly props. One protester brought along a dog in a bee costume. “We find it really hypocritical that a garden, which is by the way a beautiful garden, and that has in its mission to promote sustainability, is receiving large amounts of funds from an herbicide producer,”...

05/25/2015
Electric power association pulls out of deal with flagship Southern Co. coal project
ClimateWire: An agreement by Mississippi electric power cooperatives to cost-share 15 percent of Mississippi Power Co.'s $6.2 billion "clean" coal plant in Kemper County has been scuttled after the cooperatives' power purchasing entity decided the power to be delivered from the Kemper plant would be too costly. Cost overruns for the Kemper County Energy Facility, which will use integrated gasification combined cycle technology to convert coal to gas while also capturing a portion of the plant's carbon dioxide...

05/25/2015
What impact will climate change have on Scotland?
Scotsman: While climate change is no longer news to anyone, it can seem like an arbitrary concept; a term bandied about by politicians and cited by campaigners. But its effects, caused by all of us, will be felt by all of us. Scotland -- its wildlife and landscapes -- is already experiencing the consequences of our changing climate, and we are only likely to see more of these if the changes continue at their current rate. Here are some of the ways Scotland will feel the impact. Coastal habitats could be lost...

05/25/2015
Australia: Green power success stories take the wind out of Tony Abbott
Sydney Morning Herald: Germany, the world leader in installing renewable energy, had a moment last month. It was producing so much electricity from solar, wind and biomass that more than half of the country's electricity was flowing from these renewable sources. There was so much, in fact, that the price of electricity actually fell to zero. And the price kept falling. It went negative. There were times on April 17 when wholesale electricity in Germany was selling for minus 14.91 euros for a megawatt hour. So it wasn't...

05/25/2015
Oxford graduates ‘give back’ degree protest fossil fuels investment
Blue and Green: Almost 70 Oxford alumni have symbolically handed back their degrees to criticise the university’s weak policy on fossil fuels investment – which excludes only direct investment in oil sands and coal but fails to address other money invested in unsustainable sources of energy. Oxford University announced last week it would maintain its position of not having direct investment in high-risk oil sands and coal; it also pledged to follow environmental and social criteria for its investment. However,...

05/25/2015
United Kingdom: Trust backs beaver reintroduction
BBC: Beavers should be resident in Scotland, according to the National Trust for Scotland. The heritage body said it supported the general licensed reintroduction of the animals. Scottish Natural Heritage is due to release a report on the Knapdale beaver trial in Argyll ahead of a government decision on the project's future. More than 150 beavers, which originated from escapes or illegal releases, also live in waterways in Tayside. The Trust has published a policy statement setting out its...

05/25/2015
Survey Says Australians Prefer Solar Power
Sputnik: Earlier in May, following months of negotiations, Australia's current government and the primary opposition party reached an agreement to scale back its Renewable Energy Target (RET) by almost 20 percent by 2020, due to declining power demand. A recent Ipsos report based on a poll of nearly 1200 people funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) revealed that Australians responding to the poll strongly support the use of renewable energy. Some 87 percent of respondents were strongly in...

05/25/2015
Deadly heatwaves will be more frequent coming decades, say scientists
Guardian: The heatwave that scorched eastern Europe in 2010, killing thousands of people and devastating crops, was the worst since records began and led to the warmest summer on the continent for at least 500 years, a new scientific analysis has revealed. The research also suggests that "mega-heatwaves", such as the prolonged extreme temperatures that struck western Europe in 2003 will become five to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years, occurring at least once a decade. But the 2010 heatwave was...

05/25/2015
Deadly heatwave in India kills more than 500 people
Blue and Green: Some parts of the country are hitting 45C, leaving many people in the most isolated areas dead by heatstroke and extreme dehydration. Authorities say the heatwave might last for another 48 hours. Areas hit by the high temperatures include Delhi, Palam, Uttar Pradesh and southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – where temperature hit 48C. People have been advised to stay indoors and drink plenty of water, but many living in rural areas or in the streets might struggle to do that. India...

05/25/2015
Solar aircraft to be flown across the Pacific in world record bid
Guardian: A Swiss pilot and his craft powered by nothing but sunlight will launch an attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean on Monday in what will be the longest solo plane flight in history. For five days and nights, André Borschberg and his solar aircraft will battle exhaustion, discomfort and technological limitations as they cross the lonely 5,000 miles of ocean that swallowed Amelia Earhart 78 years ago. Since beginning their circumnavigation of the world in Abu Dhabi in March, Borschberg and his flight...

05/25/2015
Conversion of coconut gene farms threatens diversity
SciDevNet: The land conversion of coconut gene banks located in research farms across the Asia-Pacific threatens the future of coconut diversity, researchers warn. A coconut gene bank in Indonesia was recently converted into a racetrack while another in Samoa was turned into a prison, SciDev.Net has learned. Scientists in Southeast Asia are worried that without legal protection the number of coconut gene banks in the region could dwindle further. Plant ecologist Percy Sajise, a former regional director...

05/25/2015
Australia: Great Barrier Reef's 'single biggest risk' climate change
Financial Review: The chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Russell Reichelt, says climate change posed the biggest risk to the long-term future of the reef but said he believed there was enough government funding at the moment to tackle the problem. Just days before UNESCO will make its decision on whether the Great Barrier Reef will be placed on the "endangered" list, Dr Reichelt said he was encouraged by the $140 million in extra funding from the federal government to improve water quality...

05/25/2015
Australia: Moses and Paul Obeid targeted by ACCC over Hunter coal licence
Guardian: Two members of the Obeid family are facing legal action in the federal court over alleged rigging of the tender for the Mount Penny coal exploration licence in the upper Hunter region of New South Wales. Moses and Paul Obeid, sons of the former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid, and three prominent businessmen are the target of civil proceedings launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The action follows Icac’s findings in 2013 that the process to grant exploration...

05/24/2015
United Kingdom: 'Bee road' plans to save key pollinators
Guardian: A series of "bee roads" will be planted across the country to provide corridors of wildflowers for insects, in a scheme unveiled by the Co-operative today. The areas of land seeded with species such as lesser knapweed, field scabious, birdsfoot trefoil and red clover aim to provide a food-rich habitat for pollinators such as wild bees, honeybees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. The scheme to restore some of the 97% of wildflower meadows lost in recent decades forms part of the group's Plan Bee...

05/24/2015
France's biggest insurer Axa axes coal investments
Sydney Morning Herald: France's largest insurer will scrap holdings in coal companies because of concerns about climate change, broadening support for the fossil-fuel divestment movement to a major mainstream investor. Axa SA Chief Executive Officer Henri de Castries said he's working to sell 500 million euros ($702 million) of coal assets and triple "green investments" to 3 billion euros by 2020. He joined investors in Paris saying companies must act to contain global warming. "There is one thing which is absolutely...

05/24/2015
A 'tranquility map' of England would ensure countryside is protected, research says
Independent: A national “tranquillity map” of England should be created to give local councils a better chance of protecting the country’s most important areas of natural wilderness from development, according to new research. Ministers should also agree on an official definition of tranquillity and develop a scientific “indicator” by which it can be measured across the country, the report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said. The group’s survey of local councils, national park authorities...

05/24/2015
Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits
ScienceDaily: When the conversation turns to the weather and the climate, most people's thoughts naturally drift upward toward the clouds, but Jessica Oster's sink down into the subterranean world of stalactites and stalagmites. That is because the assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University is a member of a small group of earth scientists who are pioneering in the use of mineral cave deposits, collectively known as speleothems, as proxies for the prehistoric climate. It...

05/24/2015
Cave deposits record prehistoric climate
RedOrbin: By studying mineral cave deposits known as speleothems, experts from Vanderbilt University, the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California, and elsewhere are learning more about what prehistoric climate was like and how it changed over the years. The research team, led by Vanderbilt assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences Jessica Oster, is analyzing the past five decades of growth of a stalagmite located in the Mawmluh Cave in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, a region...

05/24/2015
Why the University of Edinburgh must divest from all fossil fuels now
Guardian: It was wrong for American Energy Alliance and ExxonMobil to claim that the oil and coal industries are helping people living in poverty in the global south, and it is wrong for Professor Charlie Jeffery to do so too (Why the University of Edinburgh will not divest from all fossil fuels, theguardian.com, 12 May). The world’s poorest people are already facing hardship from climate-related effects on food supply and water. Pitting fossil fuel divestment against the world’s poor is a cynical move...

05/24/2015
United Kingdom: Climate activists attack Edinburgh University stance fossil fuels
Guardian: A group of academics and climate activists from around the world has condemned the University of Edinburgh’s refusal to divest from fossil fuel companies, saying that its arguments for not doing so are cynical and wrong. More than three-dozen people representing both international groups and those from places including the UK, Australia and Guyanahave signed a letter attacking the university’s stance and which was written in response to a comment piece by Prof Charlie Jeffery, Edinburgh’s senior...

05/24/2015
John McCain mocks Obama for calling climate change a threat as Isis advances
Guardian: Senator John McCain on Sunday attacked the president for citing climate change as a threat to national security, suggesting that the Obama administration’s focus on environmental issues was detracting from the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. The comments by the Senate armed services committee chairman were part of a rotating blame game over the Memorial Day weekend about who is responsible for recent gains by Isis fighters, who last week took control of the ancient Syrian...

05/24/2015
Growth at all costs: climate change, fossil fuel subsidies &Treasury
Guardian: There are no oil rigs visible from Aberdeen itself, but evidence of the foundations of Europe’s oil capital is easy to see: plaques for the head offices of major fossil fuel companies, helicopters ferrying workers to and from offshore platforms, designer shops for a city that has more millionaires than any other in the UK. It is not far from the centre of the granite city to the poorer wards, though, where like so many places, people struggling to pay ever-increasing energy bills are still forced...

05/24/2015
Danger! The bee-killing Asian hornet is set to invade Britain
Guardian: The risk assessment of Vespa velutina, the Asian hornet, makes terrifying reading. According to a draft report published in the summer, "a handful of hornets can destroy an entire nest [of honey bees] in a couple of hours". It isn't only that the hornet kills the honey bees (it takes their bodies back to its nest to feed its larvae), it's that the effort put in by the bees to defend their colony weakens them. The hornet also "scavenges recently dead, potentially diseased, bees" – which means it could...

05/24/2015
Catholics Organize to Promote Pope's Climate Change Message
Associated Press: There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines. When Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks, a network of Roman Catholics will be ready. These environmental advocates — who work with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities and lay movements — have been preparing for months to help maximize the effect of the statement, hoping...

05/24/2015
California oil spill despoils coastline in tar-blackened reprise of 1960s disaster
Guardian: Mark Massara was eight years old in 1969, when a blowout at a Union Oil well off the California coast spilled more than three million gallons of crude along the beaches of Santa Barbara and devastated one of the northern hemisphere’s most prized ecosystems. He remembers going to the beach with his family and throwing hay on the oil as it washed ashore – a frustratingly inadequate gesture that stayed with him as he later built a career as one of California’s top environmental lawyers. Last week,...

05/24/2015
China readies national carbon market fight climate change
Associated Press: At first, the numbers and company names flashing on a big board in Beijing's financial district suggest a booming market. A closer look indicates otherwise: The scrolling list rotates the same dozen or so trades, all from last year. The lights from the Beijing Environment Exchange -- one of seven pilot markets in China for trading carbon -- raises questions for the country as it prepares for next year's roll-out of a nationwide system that could help the world's biggest emitter of heat-trapping...

05/23/2015
Tens of thousands march worldwide against Monsanto and GM crops
Agence France-Presse: Tens of thousands of people marched in cities across the world on Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto – begun by the Occupy movement – was held in around 400 cities in more than 40 countries from the Americas to Africa and Europe. About 2,500 people staged anti-Monsanto protests in the Swiss cities of Basel and Morges, where the company has its headquarters for Europe,...

05/23/2015
Japan: Climate Change Aid Pledged for Pacific Islands
Associated Press: Japan pledged $450 million in aid Saturday to Pacific island nations that are battling rising sea levels and natural calamities as a result of global warming. The island nations include Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands and others dotting the Pacific Ocean, some of which are threatened with rising sea levels. The assistance will help fight environmental disasters and provide access to clean water, renewable energy and related projects. Scientists say the melting of Arctic glaciers is...

05/23/2015
Sea lion rescued from Santa Barbara oil spill dies at SeaWorld
Reuters: A sea lion that became streaked with petroleum from an oil spill on California's Santa Barbara coastline this week has died after being taken to SeaWorld in San Diego to be cleaned and treated, officials said on Saturday. Up to 2,500 barrels (105,000 gallons) of crude petroleum gushed onto San Refugio State Beach and into the Pacific Ocean about 20 miles (32 km) west of Santa Barbara on Tuesday when an underground pipeline that runs along the coastal highway burst. The spill left a number of...

05/23/2015
Pope Francis to issue decree on faith, climate
USA Today: When the Rev. Gary Padgett plans to speak on the politically charged issue of climate change to a Catholic congregation, he undertakes a delicate process. He said he avoids "talking points," keeps language ambiguous and tries to show how care for what he describes as God's creation is relevant to people's lives and faith. "I am thinking how am I going to craft my message so that it can be heard," said Padgett, the former Ascension parish priest who now heads the St. James and St. Brigid parishes...

05/23/2015
Saving coffee from extinction
BBC: Two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day and 25 million families rely on growing coffee for a living. Over the past 15 years, consumption of the drink has risen by 43% - but researchers are warning that the world's most popular coffee, Arabica, is under threat. Although there are 124 known species of coffee, most of the coffee that's grown comes from just two - Arabica and Robusta. Robusta makes up about 30% of global coffee production, and is mainly used for instant coffee....

05/23/2015
Tree Project Aims to Put the Oak Back in Oakland
New York Times: In the beginning, before stylized images of oak trees started appearing on T-shirts, bumper stickers and even Mayor Libby Schaaf’s election-night earrings in November, there were actually oak woodlands in Oakland. And while this may be the largest city in America named after a tree, these days there are very few of the oaks left. Thus began the fledgling campaign to “re-oak” Oakland, which started on a recent weekend when a team of volunteers planted an inaugural stand of 72 saplings of coast live...

05/23/2015
Oil-Soaked Wildlife On California Coast, As Cleanup Efforts Continue
National Public Radio: Workers continue to clean the coastline near Santa Barbara, where some 105,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled. Several pelicans, both dead and alive, have been found soaked in oil. ARUN RATH, HOST: Let's go now to Santa Barbara County, Calif., where as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out from a broken pipeline into the ocean on Tuesday. As the cleanup efforts continue, workers and volunteers are finding more and more wildlife afflicted by the oil - fish, crustaceans, even octopi....

05/23/2015
When Kenyan Children’s Lives Hang on a Drip
Inter Press Service: Acute watery diarrhoea is a major killer of young children but misunderstanding over the benefits of fluid treatment is preventing many Kenyan parents from resorting to this life-saving technique and threatening to reverse the strides that the country has made in child health. The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, released in April this year, reports that the country's under-five mortality rate fell to 52 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014, down from the 74 deaths in 2008-09, but still...

05/23/2015
Indonesia: Anti-palm oil activist murdered in Jakarta
Mongabay: An Indonesian activist who opposed unbridled oil palm expansion was stabbed to death before dawn this morning outside a nightclub in South Jakarta. Whether the attack was related to his activism or the spontaneous result of a barroom brawl is not yet clear. But Indonesian media are reporting that one of the assailants shouted "I am a soldier" as he brandished the knife-shaped bayonet that killed Jopi Peranginangin, the 39-year-old head of campaigns for Sawit Watch, which strives for social and...

05/23/2015
Fossil-fuel divestment gains momentum with Axa selling coal
Bloomberg: France’s largest insurer will scrap holdings in coal companies because of concerns about climate change, broadening support for the fossil-fuel divestment movement to a major mainstream investor. Axa SA Chief Executive Officer Henri de Castries said he’s working to sell 500 million euros ($559 million) of coal assets and triple “green investments” to 3 billion euros by 2020. He joined investors in Paris saying companies must act to contain global warming. “There is one thing which is absolutely...

05/23/2015
The danger of climate denial
Baltimore Sun: It's Memorial Day, and the forecast is for renewed mocking and derision regarding man-made climate change from the know-nothing, science-averse wing of the Republican Party. President Barack Obama's warning - issued during his commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremonies Wednesday - that climate change represents a national security threat seems certain to provoke that kind of stormy reaction. For those who actually serve in the military, however, the response is...

05/23/2015
Jeb Bush finds new ways to be inaccurate about global warming 2016 race
Mashable: What is it with Florida Republicans and global warming? The state that has the most at stake in the near future from global warming-related sea level rise -- with at least $145 billion in property value precariously lying less than 3 feet above the high-tide line -- has a knack for producing politicians who deny the mainstream findings tying the vast majority of recent global warming to manmade emissions of greenhouse gases. The latest Florida politician to stake out a skeptical position is...

05/23/2015
Farming dolphins for entertainment industry ‘unacceptable’ says animal charity
Blue and Green: Japanese authorities have proposed dolphin farms instead of the annual slaughter of wild animals taking place every year in Taiji but animal welfare groups said the outcome will be the same and called for tourists to stop financing aquariums and zoos. Dolphins for the entertainment sector in Japan and elsewhere could be sourced through dedicate farms, rather than by taking animals from the wild, according to authorities in the country. The proposal has been widely criticised by animal welfare...

05/23/2015
Japan Pledges Climate Change Aid to Pacific Island Nations
ABC: Japan is giving 55 billion yen ($450 million) in climate change and disaster aid to Pacific island nations, an effort to beef up its profile in the region. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the pledge at a meeting with Pacific island nations in Iwaki in northern Japan on Saturday. The assistance will be doled out over three years to help fight climate change and natural disasters. Japan will also help with expert exchanges and training. The island nations include Fiji, the Marshall Islands,...

05/22/2015
Japan to give $400 mn Pacific islands to fight climate change
Economic Times: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday pledged $453 million in aid to Pacific island nations to help them combat climate change and natural disasters. Abe made the pledge as leaders of 14 Pacific island nations gathered for a two-day meeting, which began on Friday in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, to discuss their development needs. "As a pledge of the Japanese government, we will provide no less than 55 billion yen ($453 million) to you in the upcoming three years ... in order to foster...

05/22/2015
It’s official: California farmers volunteer to give up water
Grist: California`s drought has touched everyone in the state. First the government eliminated irrigation water deliveries through much of the public canal system. Then the governor told cities and industry to cut back water use by 25 percent. Now the state is taking a step it hasn`t resorted to since 1977: It`s claiming water from people with old riparian water rights. These are people who have been drawing water from rivers since the Gold Rush era, and who are generally immune to cuts. But in the most...

05/22/2015
Climate Change Is Killing Agriculture As We Know It
Gothamist: If we don't drown or suffocate first, it's a very real possibility that life on earth will starve to death as climate change ravages planet Earth. Though it serves as the background story for Christopher Nolan's film Interstellar, the agricultural implications of climate change haven't been the face of the planetary event--polar bears are much cuter, of course--but a new documentary film from Academy Award-winning director Sandy McLeod aims to change that, bringing the human toll of drought and crop...

05/22/2015
Mining and Energy Contracts under Investigation as Corruption Scandals Rock Guatemala
Mongabay: The Guatemalan cabinet ministers for the environment, the interior, and energy and mines stepped down May 21 amid corruption scandals and massive protests. Investigations into alleged irregularities in mining, energy, and other environmental project contracts and permits have been thrust back into the spotlight. Mining and energy projects in the country have faced intense community resistance, which has often become the target of crackdowns by state and corporate security forces. Five government...

05/22/2015
How to solve the global fish crisis? Ban fishing on the high seas
Mongabay: With demand for seafood increasing and numerous fish species declining due to overfishing and other threats, scientists are proposing a seemingly drastic solution: close the high seas to fishing and turn it into "a fish bank for the world." Don't worry, they say, doing so won't affect the fishing industry's economic returns, and will ensure that profits from fisheries are more equitably distributed. Marine areas within 200 nautical miles of countries' coasts are designated the countries' "Exclusive...

05/22/2015
Why Sacred Places Matter
Earth Island: In the last month, Native Hawaiians blockaded construction machinery headed for the top of sacred Mauna Kea, where a 30-meter telescope is to be built. Thirty-one people were arrested. In Arizona, members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe walked 45 miles to Oak Flats and occupied a ceremonial initiation site that the US Congress has handed over to a London-based mining company for a copper mine. In California, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe continues their fierce opposition to government plans to raise the...

05/22/2015
Why Sacred Places Matter
Earth Island: In the last month, Native Hawaiians blockaded construction machinery headed for the top of sacred Mauna Kea, where a 30-meter telescope is to be built. Thirty-one people were arrested. In Arizona, members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe walked 45 miles to Oak Flats and occupied a ceremonial initiation site that the US Congress has handed over to a London-based mining company for a copper mine. In California, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe continues their fierce opposition to government plans to raise the...

05/22/2015
Huge Insurance Company Cites Climate Change As Reason For Divesting From Coal
ThinkProgress: Citing climate change as a major threat, one of the world’s largest insurance companies has pledged to drop its remaining investment in coal assets while tripling its investment in green technologies. At a business and climate change conference held this week in Paris, AXA — France’s largest insurer — announced that it would sell €500 million ($559 million) in coal assets by the end of 2015, while increasing its “green investments” in things like renewable energy, green infrastructure, and green...

05/22/2015
New hope for the world's most endangered zebra
Mongabay: After taking a four-year hiatus from science, Dr. Zeke Davidson eventually found his way into the world of conservation where he is currently dedicating much of his energy towards the endangered Grevy’s zebra, one of the most threatened mammals of Africa. I embarked on the team’s latest field mission led by Davidson, to the arid savannah landscape of northern Kenya in place called South Horr (part of the Rift Valley region near the southern end of Lake Turkana) to help find individual Grevy’s...

05/22/2015
Climate change blamed for severe drought hitting Vietnam coffee crops
Guardian: The last time Nguyen Van Viet saw water in his well was almost four months ago. The 44-year-old has farmed coffee in central Vietnam for two decades and says that’s never happened before. “This is the worst drought I’ve seen in over a decade,” Viet, told the Guardian. “Some people don’t have enough water to drink.” For Viet and millions of other coffee farmers, this season has been disastrous. A prolonged drought has affected all five provinces in Vietnam’s Central Highlands – a region that...

05/22/2015
Many Trees in Southeast U.S. Closely Related to Tree Species in Asia
Yale Environment 360: DNA studies show that more than half the trees and shrubs in southern Appalachia can trace their ancestry to eastern Asia. Based on molecular studies of more than 250 species of trees and shrubs from Georgia to Virginia, researchers at Duke University found close ties between East Asian species, such as dogwoods, and species in the southeastern U.S. Forests throughout the northern hemisphere were joined together by the supercontinent Laurasia as recently as 180 million years ago. Then, as the great...

05/22/2015
Crews work to assess, control Santa Barbara-area oil spill
LA Times: Efforts to clean the crude-stained Santa Barbara coastline ramped up Thursday as scientists, government officials and workers tried to get a handle on the size, extent and environmental impact of Tuesday's oil spill. Officials responding to the spill, which sent an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil into the water near Refugio State Beach, asked for patience as the massive cleanup effort turned into a 24-hour operation with some 300 workers and 18 boats. Investigators were still working Thursday...

05/22/2015
Antarctic glaciers thinning so fast, it's like a switch was flipped
Christian Science Monitor: A new study has recorded a sudden and rapid thinning of once-stable glaciers along the southern Antarctic Peninsula, demonstrating that significant changes in glacier mass can occur surprisingly quickly as ocean and air temperatures rise. The findings support what researchers have been seeing in other parts of Antarctica, with scientists warning last year that four key glaciers on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appear to be on the verge of wholesale retreat with nothing to stop them. The new...

05/22/2015
California drought making spring allergy season worse
CBS: Millions of Americans are suffering through a miserable allergy season, and on the West Coast, the ongoing drought is making things even worse. Los Angeles native Lesley Holmes says she's been having more trouble than usual with her chronic allergies to pollen, pets and pollution. Her symptoms improve when she travels, but then return with a vengeance when she gets back home. "This year, it's been a lot worse, to where it's really affecting my daily life," she told CBS News. "It's stressful, you...

05/22/2015
Some Antarctic glaciers reached tipping point in 2009
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: THE FIRST SIGNS Antarctic glaciers have reached some kind of melting 'tipping point' have been noticed by scientists from Europe. The group of eight scientists, led by Dr Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol used sophisticated satellite measurements of the Antarctic glaciers that empty into the Bellinghausen Sea, on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula which reaches up almost to South America. Glaciers are in effect, frozen rivers of snowpack, moving incrementally towards the ocean. These...

05/22/2015
Mongolians protest Centerra gold mine
Diplomat: Centerra Gold’s Gatsuurt project is about a two-hour drive north from Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, in the sparsely populated Selenge province. The area is home to springs that are tributaries of the Selenge river, which flows into the Russian lake Baikal. The province boasts some beautiful scenery: forests, farmland and pasture. As we drive into the Mandal district township of 25,000 or so residents, my first impression is that this small provincial city was much like any other quiet settlement....

05/22/2015
California drought may benefit Oregon
Public Radio: The agriculture industry in California is in the midst of its worst drought in decades and that may inadvertently be having a positive impact on Oregon. It's caused some growers to look north. One Oregon crop that is being affected is hazelnuts, which are drawing record sales and prices. It takes a gallon of water--usually diverted from a river or aquifer--to grow a single California almond. But Oregon hazelnuts (sound of rain) get their water from the sky. 99-percent of the U.S. hazelnut crop...

05/22/2015
Novelists, Directors Respond as ‘Water Wars’ Loom
Inter Press Service: Item: In a recent blog post at the New Yorker magazine, staff writer Dana Goodyear surveys the current drought impacting California and writes: “It’s hard to escape the feeling we are living a cli-fi novel’s Chapter One.” Item: Edward L. Rubin, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, surveys the ongoing California drought in an oped at Salon magazine, writing: “As the California drought enters its fourth year, it is threatening to strangle the splendid irrigation system that...

05/22/2015
Caribbean Looks to France as Key Partner in Climate Financing
Inter Press Service: By the time leaders of the international community sit down in Paris later this year to discuss climate change, at least two Caribbean leaders are hoping that France can demonstrate its commitment to assisting their adaptation efforts by re-joining the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The CDB is the premier regional financial institution, established in 1969. It contributes significantly to the harmonious economic growth and development of the Caribbean, promoting economic cooperation...

05/22/2015
If GMOs Are Safe, Why Not Label Them? (64 Other Countries Do)
EcoWatch: When Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, began writing about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the early 2000s, he started by asking a reasonable question: “What does a clothing company know about genetic engineering?” The answer, he said: “Not enough.” And neither does anyone else. In the proliferation of GMOs, Yvon saw a serious threat to wildness and biodiversity. More than 10 years later, the prevalence of GMOs in everyday food products has risen sharply--but basic consumer awareness...

05/22/2015
Secretary of State Kerry Says Energy Industry Will Decide Climate Battle
Bloomberg: The energy industry will determine whether the climate can be fixed, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Energy and related companies can create jobs, wealth and improved health and security for people by meeting their environmental responsibilities, Kerry said in a video message for executives at a climate and business conference in Paris. “The energy market that we’re looking at is literally the biggest market in the history of humankind,” Kerry said Thursday, according to a transcript...

05/22/2015
Oil Again Fouling California Coast Near Site of Historic Spill
New York Times: Refugio State Beach is one of the treasures of the California coast, a little-known curve of beach in the hills that on weekends like this one — Memorial Day — would be sprinkled with people who made their way up from Santa Barbara, about 20 miles down the Pacific Coast. But not on Thursday. Refugio was filled not with vacationers, but with teams of workers in white coveralls and masks, scooping up sand fouled with oil that had washed in after a pipeline broke earlier this week. The smell of oil,...

05/22/2015
Mandatory Water Usage Cuts Loom in California Even for Those with Senior Water Rights
LA Times: In the 1976-77 drought, the state ordered growers with some of the oldest water rights in California to stop pumping from many rivers and streams. Now, in a sign of the spreading pain of another punishing drought, regulators are preparing to do the same thing. The State Water Resources Control Board halted diversions last summer by many so-called junior rights holders - those whose claims date back only as far as 1914. In the last month, the board ordered some 9,000 junior rights holders in the...

05/22/2015
Texas, Oklahoma Drought 'All But Over'
Climate Central: While the Western drought has its claws firmly dug in, the nearly five-year drought that has gripped Oklahoma and Texas is on its last legs, thanks to recent torrents of rain, government climate scientists said Thursday. "I think the Texas drought is pretty much all but over,' Victor Murphy, climate services program manager for the National Weather Service's Southern Region, said during a press teleconference. The last vestiges will likely disappear over the next few months as forecasters with...

05/22/2015
Canadian Scientists Say the Government Is Muzzling Them and They Want It to Stop
Vice: Hundreds of union activists representing Canada's scientists held protests in cities across the country this week, demanding the federal government end what they see as rampant political interference of scientific research. There would have been thousands of government scientists joining them, according to the unions, but they worried that if they went, their jobs could become casualties of the Canadian government's so-called "war on science". "Our scientists are scared," said Catherine Gagnon,...

05/22/2015
Shareholder Pressure Increasing Over Climate Change Risks
Bloomberg: Energy companies are facing increased scrutiny over their carbon emissions as pension funds worth billions grow anxious about the risks posed by climate change. Philippe Desfosses, chief executive officer of ERAFP, a pension fund for French civil servants, warned of the risks posed by rising sea levels and warming temperatures at a business and climate conference in Paris that finishes Friday. “There is a legal risk that is coming,” Desfosses said. “If there is a carbon risk for a business,...

05/22/2015
Climate Change: Some Companies Reject ‘Business as Usual’
Inter Press Service: - When it comes to climate change, business as usual is simply "not an option". That was the view of Eldar Saetre, CEO of Norwegian multinational Statoil, as international industry leaders met in Paris for a two-day Business & Climate Summit, six months ahead of the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21 ) that will also be held in the French capital. Subtitled "Working together to build a better economy", the May 20-21 summit brought together some 2,000 representatives of some...

05/22/2015
Antarctic Peninsula experiences ‘dramatic’ ice melt
Blue and Green: An equivalent of the UK’s annual domestic water supply is being lost in ice melting in the Antarctic Peninsula according to new satellite research led by the University of Bristol. The Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing ‘dramatic’ losses in ice mass according to new research published on Friday. Studies of satellite data led by researchers at Bristol revealed that around 60 cubic kilometres of ice is melting every year, equating to the annual domestic water supply to the UK. Published in the...

05/22/2015
Canada becomes full member Thirty Meter Telescope project
KHON: Canada is the most recent nation to affirm its commitment to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and was voted in as a full member of the project by the TMT International Observatory (TIO) Board of Directors at a recent board meeting. The country joins California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the science institutions of China, India, and Japan as partners in the TMT project. TIO is the nonprofit limited liability company founded in May 2014 to carry out the construction...


Did You Know?

It takes 1450 years for the bottle from bottled water to decompose.

 

Website developed by: