'Pesky little birds': corella culls planned in Western Australia

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/14 - 5:30pm

Wild flocks bred from aviary escapees pose threat to local species and ‘don’t just eat, they destroy’, mayor says

Regional councils in Western Australia are using fireworks, lethal gas, nets, and mass shooting to reduce the number of corellas, which are reportedly damaging buildings and destroying infrastructure.

The culprits are primarily eastern long-billed corellas, Cacatua tenuirostris, which were introduced to WA as a popular aviary bird.

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Categories: Environment

Householders could face fines for using fly-tippers

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/14 - 5:01pm

Action to combat unlicensed waste carriers to be taken after Environment Agency uncovers 850 illegal dumping sites in a year

Households whose rubbish ends up being dumped illegally by unauthorised disposal companies could face fines under plans being considered by the government.

Councils could be given the power to directly fine people caught using unlicensed waste carriers following a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

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Categories: Environment

Country diary 1918: fowls fill dead air with an alive gurgling call

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/14 - 3:30pm

19 January 1918 Ducks waddled across to a narrow outlet, dabbled with their beaks, flopped in, and breasted away from the current, catching an odd flake as it fell

Just after daybreak, while snow was falling, the fowls crept from their house, flew into the bare branches of apple trees, and filled the dead air with an alive gurgling call which tells that laying time has come. Ducks waddled across to a narrow outlet where a stream breaks quickly for the river, dabbled with their beaks, flopped in, and breasted away from the current, now and then catching an odd flake as it fell. Wood and field birds winged about aimlessly, larks and linnets going separately in small flocks, and one wagtail went to the margin of the water as if for company with the swimming birds. The snow turned to rain; the wood, clothed a minute ago in white, was now naked and cold. But a thrush came, trilled softly, then broke into almost full song; a starling perched on the farmhouse eaves shook the wet from his feathers, and tried to warble; rooks swung in their nest trees and called.

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Categories: Environment

Belize bans oil activity to protect its barrier reef

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/14 - 3:00am

Decision hailed as huge step forward that will safeguard both the marine environment and the country’s lucrative dive tourism industry

Some good news for the new year: in what has been called a huge step forward in protecting oceans and marine life, the Belize government has announced bold legislation to end oil activity in all of its waters.

The move is designed to protect the fragile Belize Barrier Reef world heritage site, the second-largest in the world after Australia’s and home to 1,400 species, including endangered hawksbill turtles, manatees, rays and six threatened species of shark.

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Categories: Environment

'It was like Niagara Falls': how California's rich and poor united against a tide of mud

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/01/14 - 12:00am

After wildfire and floods, nature has again taken its toll in California, from the rustic Verdugo mountains to Montecito’s celebrity homes

Jeanette Abney owns a big, fancy house and Elizabeth Terry rents a room in a boarding house. But this week they both ended up sleeping on cots in the same American Red Cross evacuation centre, sipping the same instant coffee, nibbling the same pastries and huddling under the same blankets. A rain-sodden poster at the entrance declared “disaster services”.

Both women were in need. A storm had drenched the Verdugo mountains, a rugged, rustic outpost of Los Angeles, and unleashed a massive mudslide, forcing them to flee to an improvised evacuation centre in the San Fernando valley.

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Categories: Environment

Rescues Continue In California Mudslide Zones

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2018/01/13 - 3:47pm

Search and rescue operations in Southern California continue for people still missing after this week's massive mudslides and debris flow. Many areas are still unreachable in Santa Barbara County.

Categories: Environment

World's biggest wildlife reserve planned for Antarctica in global campaign

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/13 - 1:01am

Vast 1.8m sq km fishing-free zone would protect species, such as penguins, leopard seals and whales, and help mitigate the effects of climate change

A global campaign is being launched to turn a huge tract of the seas around the Antarctic into the world’s biggest sanctuary, protecting wildlife and helping the fight against climate change.

The huge 1.8m sq km reserve – five times the size of Germany – would ban all fishing in a vast area of the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, safeguarding species including penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and blue whales.

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Categories: Environment

Animal welfare groups call for higher standards for farmed chickens

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/01/13 - 12:01am

Retailers and restaurants urged to sign up to new cross-European guidelines amid growing concerns over cruelty in intensive meat production

New welfare standards for farmed chickens have been demanded by a large coalition of European animal protection groups, including the RSPCA, in a bid to address growing concerns about inhumane conditions in the intensive and large-scale production of meat.

Supermarkets and restaurants are being urged to sign up to the new blueprint, which represents the first time a single set of requirements has been agreed on across the continent.

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Categories: Environment

Scientists Say A Fluctuating Jet Stream May Be Causing Extreme Weather Events

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 2:54pm

A new study says unusual patterns of the polar jet stream circling the Northern Hemisphere may have led to dramatic weather in Europe and North America.

(Image credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

California Woman Shares Story Of Mudslide Survival

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 2:16pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Rita Bourbon, who survived the California mudslides in her home, but sadly found her neighbor's body in her backyard.

Categories: Environment

It's Becoming Increasingly Hard For California Homeowners To Get Insurance

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 2:16pm

Insurance companies are increasingly dropping homeowners in California because of wildfire risk. There's concern the problem will grow worse after this year's destructive fire season.

Categories: Environment

Southern California Hillsides Remain Vulnerable After Deadly Mudslides

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 12:47pm

Deadly mudslides occured in Santa Barbara County, Calif., after heavy rain pushed debris down fire-scarred hillsides. If it rains again, more debris could be swept down the mountains.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Great Barrier Reef tourism spokesman attacks scientist over slump in visitors

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 12:00pm

Col McKenzie calls on government to stop funding work of Terry Hughes, saying tourists ‘won’t do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead’

A Queensland tourism representative has called one of the Great Barrier Reef’s leading researchers “a dick”, blaming the professor for a downturn in tourism growth at the state’s greatest natural asset.

Col McKenzie, the head of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, a group that represents more than 100 businesses in the Great Barrier Reef, has written to the federal government asking it to stop funding the work of Professor Terry Hughes, claiming his comments were “misleading” and damaging the tourism industry.

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Categories: Environment

A hollow ring to Theresa May’s pledge on plastics | Letters

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 11:25am
Theresa May’s new green strategy lacks regulatory bite, says Ray Georgeson, and, according to Maureen Evershed, is short on humility. Stephen Sibbald reckons an important problem has been ignored, while Peter Hames and Ros Cayton suggest ways to stamp out non-biodegradable coffee cups

Ian Paul (Letters, 12 January), referring to plastics recycling, asks: “Surely we should urge government and private industry to build and develop plants to deal with the problem now, before we are knee-deep in bottles?” He is right, but we had started on this more than a decade ago, with world-leading recycling technology investment in plastic bottle recycling at Closed Loop in Dagenham, part funded by the government’s Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme) organisation, which produced the material to include recycled content in plastic milk bottles.

This was a world first, establishing the use of recycled material in food-grade packaging. It foundered when the voluntary agreement between the dairies, brands, retailers and bottle-makers to use recycled content collapsed when the oil price fell and virgin material became much cheaper. Government failed to intervene to save the plant and the investment, for the sake of a price differential representing 0.1p on the cost of a two-litre milk bottle. All those responsible blamed each other, and the nation lost significant recycling capacity.

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Categories: Environment

Vicar unchained from tree after protest against HS2 work at Euston

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 8:44am

Dozen of planes near central London station to be felled in preparation for high-speed rail link development

A protesting priest has been voluntarily unchained from one of 200 trees around Euston that HS2 is felling in preparation for the high-speed rail line.

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Categories: Environment

Tim Kruger: How Do We Slow Climate Change Before It's Too Late?

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 7:27am

To tackle climate change, geoengineer Tim Kruger is developing technology that could remove large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. But he says it takes unprecedented cooperation to make it work.

(Image credit: Bret Hartman/TED)

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 7:00am

Rockhopper penguins, bleeding heart baboons and a flying fox are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

Norway backs EU fishing policies remaining during Brexit transition

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 6:38am

North Sea curbs to last at least 21 months despite Michael Gove’s suggestion Britain would take back control of its waters

The EU’s insistence that quotas under the common fisheries policy for the seas around the UK will remain in force during a Brexit transition period has been backed up by the Norwegian government, dealing a fresh blow for Downing Street.

Pers Sandberg, the Norwegian fisheries minister, said he expected talks between the EU, UK and Norway over fishing rights to be complex and likely to conclude at the end of a transition period.

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Categories: Environment

Armed raid on nuclear workers' housing raises fears over Brazil's two reactors

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/01/12 - 12:15am

Brazil is one of three Latin American countries with nuclear power. It also suffers from violent crime. Now a heavily armed gang has brought the two together

Fears over the security of Brazil’s two nuclear power plants have been raised after a heavily armed gang raided a secure workers’ condominium just a kilometre away and blew up two cash machines.

About 10 men held security guards hostage at around 3am on Monday, robbed guests at a party in a private club then escaped in a waiting speedboat from the Praia Brava condominium for workers at the Angra 1 and 2 nuclear reactors, run by state company Eletronuclear.

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Categories: Environment

Australia and New Zealand at loggerheads over manuka honey trademark

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/11 - 9:43pm

Australian beekeepers have challenged a UK ruling giving their trans-Tasman rivals sole rights to use the coveted term

A trans-Tasman fight has erupted over which country has the right to claim lucrative manuka honey as its own.

Manuka honey is produced from bees feeding on the pollen of the Leptospermum scoparium plant; known as “manuka” in New Zealand, and “tea tree” in Australia.

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Categories: Environment
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