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Arctic ice loss forces polar bears to use four times as much energy to survive – study

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 6:50am

Other predators such as narwhals are suffering similarly as unique adaptations become less suited

Polar bears and narwhals are using up to four times as much energy to survive because of major ice loss in the Arctic, according to scientists.

Once perfectly evolved for polar life, apex predators are struggling as their habitats shrink and unique adaptations become less suited to an increasingly ice-free Arctic, researchers say.

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Categories: Environment

New Evidence Shows Fertile Soil Gone From Midwestern Farms

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 6:08am

One third of the cropland in the upper Midwest has entirely lost its fertile topsoil, according to a new study. Other scientists doubt that figure, but agree that soil loss is a big problem.

(Image credit: Evan Thaler for NPR)

Categories: Environment

Cattle stranded at sea for two months are likely dead or ‘suffering hell’

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 5:13am

Two livestock ships have been refused entry to multiple countries on health grounds since leaving Spain in December

One of two livestock ships at sea since mid-December with thousands of cattle on board is now at the Spanish port of Cartagena, but the fate of its cargo is unclear.

The two vessels left from different ports in Spain before Christmas to deliver their cargoes of animals, but were each refused entry by various countries including Turkey and Libya, owing to suspected outbreaks onboard both ships of the bovine disease bluetongue.

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Categories: Environment

Hot houses: the race to save bats from overheating as temperatures rise

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 3:30am

Chimneys for bat boxes and a flying fox heat stress forecaster are among efforts to prevent deaths from effects of climate crisis

Steve Latour and his wife were enjoying their usual early morning coffee in the sun outside their lake house in the Kootenay region of British Columbia when they heard noises coming from the bat box attached to the side of the house. Every summer, about 150 Yuma myotis bats return to the box, using it as a maternity colony to give birth to pups and take care of them until they are ready to leave for hibernation in the autumn.

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Categories: Environment

'Tired of getting slapped in the face': older Black farmers see little hope in Biden's agriculture pick

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 3:00am

Black farmers have been disregarded by the USDA for years. Will anything change in Tom Vilsack’s second stint?

James “Bill” McGill has been a farmer for 40 of his 76 years. He can’t remember the year his 320-acre farm was put up for sale by the same man from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) he’d gone to for a loan to help him keep it. He can sum up the loss succinctly: “The government took it away. It has always been that way for us.”

Related: 'I'll be fierce for all of us': Deb Haaland on climate, Native rights and Biden

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Categories: Environment

Texas freeze casts renewable energy as next battle line in US culture wars

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 1:00am

Conservatives have blamed the state’s power fiasco on solar and wind even though they account for a fraction of supply

The frigid winter storm and power failure that left millions of people in Texas shivering in darkness has been used to stoke what is becoming a growing front in America’s culture wars – renewable energy.

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Categories: Environment

Climate crisis bigger concern than pandemic for Australian businesses, survey finds

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 12:14am

Ernst and Young says results reflect pressure from investors to make sustainability a priority in decision making

Australian bosses say the climate crisis is the biggest challenge facing their businesses – in contrast to their overseas counterparts, who have ranked recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic their top concern.

“Climate change impacts” were rated the No 1 concern by 18% of 155 Australian executives surveyed by accounting firm Ernst & Young, followed by technological disruption (17%) and “the continuing Covid-19 pandemic” (15%).

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Categories: Environment

Carbon tax would be popular with UK voters, poll suggests

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2021/02/24 - 12:00am

Levies on flying, imports and other high-carbon services could raise £27bn a year by 2030, says Zero Carbon Campaign

Taxing carbon dioxide emissions would be popular with voters, polling suggests, as the government moots ways to put a price on carbon that could help tackle the climate crisis and fund a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Carbon taxes could be levied on energy suppliers, transport including flying, food, imports and other high-carbon goods and services. At present, the UK levies implicit taxes on carbon, for instance through duties on petrol and diesel, and some heavy industries pay an effective price on carbon. But there are no taxes for consumers that are explicitly geared to the carbon emissions created by the goods and services that they buy.

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Categories: Environment

Be 'muscular' and drive green recovery, Cameron tells Johnson

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 11:00pm

Free market can be overruled if necessary to create post-Covid growth, ex-PM advises former rival

Boris Johnson must be “muscular” in reshaping the economy to bring about a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis, former prime minister David Cameron has said, calling for an active policy of industrial intervention.

Cameron, who as prime minister from 2010 to 2016 oversaw the UK’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, said the lessons from that recession were clear. “My advice would be, from what I learnt, is that as well as the framework [of climate and economic policy], you have to roll up your sleeves and be quite muscular in your interventionism,” he told the Guardian in an interview.

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Categories: Environment

Liberal backbencher urges environment minister to speed up new protections

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 8:18pm

Trent Zimmerman is believed to have complained in joint Coalition party room that two years was too long for Australia’s wildlife to wait

Liberal backbencher Trent Zimmerman has raised concerns that new national environmental standards to improve protection for Australia’s wildlife will be brought in too slowly.

While legislation giving effect to the proposed standards was rubber-stamped at the Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday, Guardian Australia understands that a number of Liberals are concerned that the environment minister, Sussan Ley, has mishandled the overhaul Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

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Categories: Environment

Justin Trudeau says US leadership has been 'sorely missed' during first meeting with Biden

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 7:06pm

Canadian PM congratulates US president on rejoining Paris accord, saying ‘it’s nice when the Americans are not pulling out all the references to climate change’


Justin Trudeau has praised Joe Biden for rejoining the Paris climate accord during their first bilateral meeting, saying: “US leadership has been sorely missed over the past years.”

The Canadian prime minister added: “And I have to say as we were preparing the joint rollout of the communique on this, it’s nice when the Americans are not pulling out all the references to climate change and instead adding them in.”

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Categories: Environment

Burro parking...

The Field Lab - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 3:43pm

 

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Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Cities' Goal To Lower Climate Emissions Could Be Blocked By Gas Utilities

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 2:14pm

A growing number of cities want to restrict the use of gas in buildings to reduce climate emissions. But many states are now considering laws to block that with backing from the natural gas industry.

Categories: Environment

Keir Starmer speaks at farmers' conference in move to win rural vote

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 11:56am

NFU members question Labour leader on post-Brexit changes as he proposes major review of party’s farming policies

Badgers, bees and gene-edited livestock are among the key questions Labour will need to address if the party is to make headway in rural constituencies, this year’s National Farmers’ Union conference has shown.

Sir Keir Starmer became the first Labour leader in 13 years to speak at the NFU’s annual gathering, a key date in the UK’s farming calendar. His reception was hard to judge, owing to the online nature of the event, but he answered questions from farmers on topics ranging from food standards post-Brexit to nitrate fertilisers.

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Categories: Environment

Interior Nominee Deb Haaland Faces Tough Questions On Climate Goals

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 11:35am

Despite Biden's ambitious climate plan, Haaland told lawmakers the country would not abandon fossil fuels "overnight." If confirmed, she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

(Image credit: Jim Watson/AP)

Categories: Environment

Winter/Early Spring Sowing 101

Home Grown New Mexico - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 10:09am

Winter/Early Spring Sowing 101
By Lynne Roberts

An Important message about SEEDS: BUY THEM SOON!!  Last year, 2020, there was a major shortage of seeds across the country and in all the seed markets around the world…None of the Santa Fe garden centers nor plant stores nor the big box stores had any seeds left after the first cycle of early seed buyers…(Many of us who save seeds may have had some seeds for our own gardens and for sharing with friends and neighbors…). And the reason for that major seed shortage: NOT ENOUGH WORKERS TO SOW, HARVEST, PACKAGE, and SHIP those seeds from the farmers and the major seed producing companies, and NO WORKERS to PROCESS ORDERS to stores, in addition to a difficult Covid-19 growing season 2020.  SO, BUY YOUR SEEDS SOON, and locally if possible!!

So don’t despair-those of you who don’t have a greenhouse or cold frames in which to start your COOL SEASON CROP seeds in your garden!  Seeds like lettuce, spinach, Asian greens, cabbage, arugula, and many other cool season crops can be started outside with protection. It is totally possible to start your seeds outdoors, in the freezing cold, with a well-known method of seed germination, requiring just two things:  mini GREENHOUSES (made from recycled plastic/transparent milk-water-juice gallon jugs or large plastic soda or water bottles) and TIME with Olde Mother Nature. It is both easy and economical to start your own garden seeds in your own greenhouses, in your yard.

WINTER SOWING 101
My source is Kevin Lee Jacobs, at his website, “A Garden for the House.com,” who credits TRUDI DAVIDOFF with inventing, in 1999, this outdoor method of seed germination, in even the coldest of temperatures, starting in December, January, or even on February 14, on St Valentines Day and even later. You can google Ms. Davidoff, and see that she still has a foundation for teaching this easy method to students of all ages, around the world…

In 2007, when I first moved to Eldorado—land of gophers, rodents, “mouses,” impossible alkaline soil, and strong Mistral-like winds—I was NOT a happy gardener!!!!!

And then, I read Trudi’s and Kevin’s method for germinating seeds outside in the cold, using recycled mini plastic greenhouses! Ms. Davidoff urges everyone to use whatever free container that they can recycle, including plastic deli, fruit and veggie containers from the supermarket, aluminum foil circular and square containers from the Chinese restaurants and fast food restaurants, etc… Look around and see how much of this free, easy to recycle “stuff” is available to use as planters before it finally goes into the recycle pile at the transfer station.

MAKE A MINI-GREENHOUSE
So, we all know how seed starting indoors –without lights, with very limited space inside your bedroom, in your dining room or living room on wooden tables that will get water damaged from leaking plant pots, with not enough sunny window ledges nor enough Sun coming in anywhere inside your house or apartment –ENDS!!— IN DESPAIR, with irate and annoyed spouses, partners, roommates, and spindly starts, subjected to the dry air loving creatures (spider mites, scale, bugs, things) and mold and mildew or half dead plants…! (YES! YOU! In your HOME!!)

GARDENERS, let’s start out right and be successful!
Instead of leaving that 1/4” of milk, juice, or water in the bottom of the plastic gallon jug and putting it back in your fridge, hoping that someone else living in the house or a passing friend will empty it, rinse it, and take it out to your recycle bin (YES! YOU!), take that same FREE AVAILABLE container or milk/juice/water jug and empty its contents, fill it with some water, and rinse out the water (over your potting soil is good)

1) DISCARD the bottle top/cap of your jug. Take a medium drill bit and your drill (or heat a Phillips screw driver over your gas burner flame), and make enough holes for ventilation in the bottom of the jug (perhaps 10-15 holes) for appropriate drainage and ventilation, about 3-5 holes on each side, and 5-10 holes on the top of your transparent plastic container for ventilation…as your greenhouse will be watered with rain, snow, and sleet…

2) Just below the handle of your jug CUT around the middle of the jug, using an exacto knife, or a VERY sharp knife, or scissors cut about an inch be (add extra duct tape on hinge for support), the handle remains on the jug itself.

3) Add a good quality sterile seed starting or potting soil mix ( DO NOT USE SOIL FROM YOUR GARDEN) and fill the bottom part of your jug with about 2″-3″ of this good potting soil…Soak well, allow to drain thoroughly at the sink or over your pail of seed starting mix or good potting soil.  Add perlite to loosen the soil if your soil is slow draining.

4) Sow your seeds on the surface of the soil.  If your seeds are very small, there is no need for additional soil to cover… Leave them on the surface of your potting soil.  Larger seeds require only 1/8″ planting depth.

5) Labeling and taping-Use a permanent marker to indicate on the jug itself the following information: name of seed, quantity sown, date sown, days to maturity, height, possible planting location in your garden, and any other important info…Then, close the container’s hinged cover, secure it into place with 2-3 pieces of DUCT tape (it’s not necessary that the two halves fit tight; you will be able to open your jug greenhouse to check the water inside–rain, snow, sleet have been watering your greenhouse, supplemented by any additional water that you may need to add–to monitor the progress of your seedlings, and to check ventilation as the greenhouse will heat up and on sunny days become very humid…That is why NO cover or cap is needed on your greenhouse, as the vented top will permit excess heat and humidity to escape!)

6) Move your planted greenhouse jugs outside soon after planting them!  (YES,IN THE FREEZING COLD AND SNOW!!) . I place all the jugs in a shallow plastic box or on a tray with an edge or lip, and place that tray/box containing all the greenhouses (6-8) on a wire mesh patio table or in a large plastic recycle container away from the wind, on the south side of my house or in a very protected area…

When your seedlings are ready to be transplanted in your garden, you can take great pleasure in knowing that you have an easy and economical way to sow more seeds for your garden…And you sowed, nurtured, transplanted, and grew your plants all by yourself!!!  BRAVO, FEARLESS GARDENER!!

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Renewable energy could render five of Australia’s remaining coal plants unviable by 2025

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 9:30am

A new report suggests previous estimates understated the amount of cheap solar and wind energy entering the national electricity market

Up to five of Australia’s remaining 16 coal power plants could be financially unviable by 2025 due to a flood of cheap solar and wind energy entering the electricity grid, a new report suggests.

An analysis by two groups – the consultants Green Energy Markets and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa) – found previous estimates had understated the amount of renewable energy likely to enter the national electricity market in the next five years, and its ramifications for the ageing coal fleet.

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Categories: Environment

'A role model': how Seville is turning leftover oranges into electricity

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 8:16am

Pilot scheme will use methane from fermenting fruit to create clean power for city water plant

In spring, the air in Seville is sweet with the scent of azahar, orange blossom, but the 5.7m kilos of bitter fruit the city’s 48,000 trees deposit on the streets in winter are a hazard for pedestrians and a headache for the city’s cleaning department.

Now a scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different kind of juice from the unwanted oranges: electricity. The southern Spanish city has begun a pilot scheme to use the methane produced as the fruit ferments to generate clean electricity.

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Categories: Environment

Beaver believers: Native Americans promote resurgence of 'nature's engineers'

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/02/23 - 3:15am

The rodents are often considered ‘nuisance animals’, but they can play a vital role in maintaining healthy landscapes

Molly Alves steps down hard on the edge of a heavy wire trap, forcing its sides open with her hands. With care she lays the poised trap, baited with twigs and branches, in a bracingly cold stream. Her target? A beaver.

Beavers are often considered “nuisance” animals on the US west coast and, if captured, are destroyed by animal control companies.

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Categories: Environment
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