Environment

Australia’s ‘failing’ environmental laws will fuel further public health crises, Nobel laureate warns

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/05/24 - 10:30am

Bushfires and Covid-19 highlight connection between human health and natural world, states letter by almost 200 doctors and scientists

Leading health professionals, including a Nobel laureate and a former Australian of the Year, say the government must put human health “front and centre” in a new generation of environment laws in the aftermath of the Covid-19 and bushfire crises.

The Nobel prize-winning immunologist Peter Doherty and the epidemiologist and former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley are among 180 professionals who have warned the government that Australia’s “failing” environmental laws will fuel further public health crises.

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Categories: Environment

Claudia Karvan joins last-ditch campaign to save unburnt bushland from development

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/05/24 - 10:30am

Residents say South Coast site saved from bushfires by volunteer firefighters should be preserved for threatened species

The residents of the small south coast town of Manyana have enlisted the help of actor Claudia Karvan in a last-ditch campaign to save the only significant unburnt piece of bushland for kilometres from clearing.

The 20 hectares, which was saved by volunteer firefighters protecting nearby houses during the Christmas-New Year bushfires, has development consent dating back to 2008.

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Categories: Environment

Britain's largest solar farm poised to begin development in Kent

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/05/24 - 3:04am

Cleve Hill, the £450m project producing 350MW, expected to receive go-ahead this week

Britain’s largest solar farm, capable of generating enough clean electricity to power 91,000 homes, is poised to receive the greenlight from ministers this week.

The subsidy-free renewables park is expected to reach a capacity of 350MW by installing 880,000 solar panels – some as tall as buses – across 364 hectares (900 acres) of farmland in the Kent countryside.

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Categories: Environment

Race, wealth and public spaces: US beaches are a new flashpoint of the lockdown

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2020/05/24 - 3:00am

Beaches are a polarizing issue amid the pandemic. Experts say that’s because a ‘frenzy of privatization’ led to smaller, more crowded public spaces

As Florida’s beaches shut down in April, part of the state’s pandemic stay-at-home order, Josh Davis noticed something strange in Palm Beach county.

“A lot of that beach crowd just kind of moved on to the road and the sidewalk. People set up lawn chairs on the grass,” said Davis, an ocean rescue lifeguard with the county. “If the goal was to keep people from congregating, all it did was really push them a few feet away.”

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Categories: Environment

Thousands of run-down US dams would kill people if they failed, study finds

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/05/23 - 3:00am
  • 17% of 91,000 US dams classified with ‘high hazard’ potential
  • Neglected infrastructure in focus after Michigan dam failures

More than 15,000 dams in the US would likely kill people if they failed, and at least 2,300 of them are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to recent data from the federal government’s National Inventory of Dams.

Related: When the '500-year flood' hit Michigan, residents had to weigh risk of escape in a pandemic

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Categories: Environment

'It's good for the soul': the mini rewilders restoring UK woodland

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/05/23 - 1:30am

By buying and managing small wooded plots, enthusiasts are bringing biodiversity back to the countryside

Tamara and Steve Davey cannot help but grin at the suggestion they are “miniature rewilders”. Standing proudly in the weak sunlight on the fringes of Dartmoor national park, the full-time grandmother and taxi company owner delight in their eight-acre woodland.

Robins, tits and siskins chortle in the trees. Nightjars are welcome visitors in the summer. Seven bat species have been recorded in their small plot. There’s a badger’s sett somewhere in the hillside scrub. And the couple feel at peace.

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Categories: Environment

Could a green new deal turn South Korea from climate villain to model?

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2020/05/23 - 12:00am

Country’s youngest MP is on a mission, inspired by Greta Thunberg, as climate moves up political agenda

A year ago, Soyoung Lee was one of a crowd of climate activists demonstrating on the streets of Seoul in a campaign inspired by the global school strike founder Greta Thunberg.

Today, the 35-year-old lawyer is the youngest member of the South Korean parliament and a driving force in the government’s green new deal, which aims to create millions of jobs in renewable energy and help the economy recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

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Categories: Environment

Covid commission boss Nev Power steps back at gas company amid conflict of interest concerns

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 8:26pm

The Morrison government commission has promoted gas as a key way to boost the economy after the coronavirus crisis

The head of the Morrison government commission tasked with coming up with plans to revitalise the economy after the coronavirus crisis, Nev Power, is to step aside from his position as deputy chairman of a gas company over conflict of interest concerns.

“Because of the perceptions of conflict of interest he has stepped back from participating in board meetings and will not participate in the decisions of the board” of Strike Energy, a spokesman for the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission said on Friday evening.

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Categories: Environment

Australia's energy policy: a roadmap without a destination – Australian politics live podcast

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 1:00pm

Guardian Australia’s environment editor, Adam Morton, joins political editor, Katharine Murphy, to discuss the week’s news on energy policy. From the release of the government’s technology roadmap to a leaked document that sees gas as the future of Australian energy, why is Australia making a roadmap without a destination?

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Categories: Environment

Endangered shorebirds unsustainably hunted during migrations, records show

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 1:00pm

More than 30 species, including nine that are threatened, are being hunted unsustainably, report finds

More than 30 shorebird species that fly across oceans each year to visit Australia – including nine that are threatened – are being hunted during their long migrations, according to a study that analysed decades of records from 14 countries.

The study, which experts said filled a major gap in the world’s knowledge about the impact of hunting on declining shorebird numbers, found that more than 17,000 birds from 16 species were likely being killed at just three sites – Pattani Bay in Thailand, West Java in Indonesia and the Yangtze River delta in China.

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Categories: Environment

Company part-owned by Angus Taylor seeks ministerial review on illegal grassland clearing

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 1:00pm

Jam Land is appealing an environment department order to restore endangered native habitat found to have been poisoned

Jam Land, the company part-owned by the energy minister, Angus Taylor, and his brother, Richard, has sought a ministerial review of an order to restore native habitat after it was found to have illegally poisoned critically endangered grasslands.

Last month, the federal environment department concluded a three-and-a-half-year investigation and ordered the company to remediate 103 hectares on a property in the New South Wales Monaro region.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 8:45am

The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including rose-ringed parakeets and a poppy-loving bumblebee

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Categories: Environment

UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 7:31am

High court rejects challenge after ministers overruled climate objections of planning officials

The UK government’s approval of a large new gas-fired power plant has been ruled legal by the high court. A legal challenge was brought after ministers overruled climate change objections from planning authorities.

The plant, which is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire, would be the biggest gas power station in Europe, and could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to lawyers for ClientEarth, which brought the judicial review.

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Categories: Environment

Xiye Bastida: How Are Young People Making The Choice To Fight Climate Change?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 6:06am

For some youth, being part of the solution means focusing their entire lives on the climate crisis. For Xiye Bastida, a 17-year-old climate justice activist, there is no hope without action.

(Image credit: Xiye Bastida)

Categories: Environment

Oliver Jeffers: An Ode To Living On Earth

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 6:06am

If you had to explain to a newborn what it means to live on Earth, at this time of crisis — what would you say? Writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers gives his answer in a letter to his son.

(Image credit: TED)

Categories: Environment

Christiana Figueres: How Can We Choose Optimism — Even In The Darkest Times?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 6:06am

In 2015, Christiana Figueres helped pave the path to the historic Paris Agreement. She says more than ever we need stubborn optimism — a gritty, determined choice to make change because we have to.

(Image credit: Bret Hartman/Bret Hartman / TED)

Categories: Environment

Tom Rivett-Carnac: How Can We Shift Our Mindset To Fight Climate Change Together?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 6:05am

It's easy to feel powerless against looming challenges we cannot control — like climate change. So what should we do? Political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac says the power is in our mindset.

(Image credit: TED)

Categories: Environment

When the '500-year flood' hit Michigan, residents had to weigh risk of escape in a pandemic

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2020/05/22 - 5:42am

The coronavirus complicated response to the disastrous flood that swallowed a series of small communities in mid-Michigan when an ageing dam broke

Suzy Kastura had less than an hour to pack before the floodwaters gushed into her home in the central Michigan town of Midland. Her neighbor knocked on the door after the Edenville Dam failed on Tuesday, sending a deluge downstream toward the town where they live. They had to evacuate, fast.

Related: Michigan: threat of toxic contamination looms after dam failures trigger flooding

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Categories: Environment

Humanity must take this chance to find a new 'normal' – and safeguard our planet

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/05/21 - 11:30pm

Climate risks and opportunities need to be incorporated into the financial system as well as public policymaking and infrastructure

There is a lot of talk about getting back to normal after the Covid-19 crisis is over. And yet normal – business as usual – is what has made our planet and our societies vulnerable to crises in the first place.

Normal means cutting down huge swathes of forest to plant crops. Normal means overgrazing livestock, destroying natural ecosystems at the expense of habitats for wild animals. Normal is driving climate change, which increases stress in wild species and their habitats and makes people more susceptible to zoonotic diseases (which spread from animals to humans).

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Categories: Environment

We now have the proof: greening the economy doesn't come at the price of prosperity | Fiona Harvey

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2020/05/21 - 11:00pm

After the financial crisis, green investment paid dividends. Coronavirus presents an even greater opportunity

Everest is once again visible from Kathmandu, after decades shrouded in pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to levels last seen in 2006. Nature has returned to our streets with a quack and a flurry, and people are waking to birdsong in inner cities as the roar of traffic recedes.

Clear skies bring little cheer at the food bank, however. Birdsong might lift the heart, but it won’t pay the rent.

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Categories: Environment
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