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Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/12 - 3:00am

New geological research from Utah suggests the end-Permian extinction was mainly caused by burning coal, ignited by magma

Earth has so far gone through five mass extinction events – scientists are worried we’re on course to trigger a sixth – and the deadliest one happened 252 million years ago at the end of the Permian geologic period. In this event, coined “the Great Dying,” over 90% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species went extinct. It took about 10 million years for life on Earth to recover from this catastrophic event.

Scientists have proposed a number of possible culprits responsible for this mass extinction, including an asteroid impact, mercury poisoning, a collapse of the ozone layer, and acid rain. Heavy volcanic activity in Siberia was suspected to play a key role in the end-Permian event.

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Categories: Environment

Saving the yellow-eyed penguin – a photo essay

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2018/03/12 - 12:00am

Photographer Murdo MacLeod visits New Zealand’s South Island where conservationists are seeking to protect the endangered yellow-eyed penguin from predation, disease and habitat destruction

At the end of the day, having avoided being bitten on the flipper by a barracouta or chewed by a shark, a shy yellow-eyed penguin prepares to come ashore and make its bed in the bush. Emerging from the surf, he scans the apparently empty sandy strip with his beady eyes for signs of danger. Though he is a swift swimmer, he is fettered by his stumpy legs when ashore. But he grows confident as he comes close to the dense brush.

Then the unexpected happens: eight dark figures spring from three different locations and sprint toward the hoiho – or “little shouter” as the yellow-eyed penguin is known in Māori. He has been bushwhacked like this before and offers only token resistance. “Oh no, not again!” he may have thought.

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Categories: Environment

Garden bird feeders help spread disease among wild birds

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 11:01pm

Some previously rare illnesses are becoming epidemics in some bird populations, scientists say

Garden bird feeders are contributing to the spread of serious diseases among wild birds, scientists have warned, causing previously rare illnesses to become epidemics in some populations.

Poor garden feeder hygiene, droppings accumulations and stale food are promoting the transmission of illnesses between garden birds as the animals repeatedly congregate in the same location, coming into contact with species they would not usually interact with in the wild.

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Categories: Environment

Saving the albatross: 'The war is against plastic and they are casualties on the frontline'

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 11:00pm

Following his shocking photographs of dead albatross chicks and the diet of plastic that killed them, Chris Jordan’s new film is a call to action to repair our broken relationship with planet Earth

We are living in a plastic age and the solutions may seem glaringly obvious, so why aren’t all 7.6 billion of us already doing things differently? Shocking statistics don’t guarantee effective change. So what’s the alternative? American photographer and filmmaker Chris Jordan believes the focus should be on forcing people to have a stronger emotional engagement with the problems plastic causes. His famous photographs of dead albatross chicks and the colourful plastic they have ingested serve as a blunt reminder that the planet is in a state of emergency.

While making his feature-length film Albatross, Jordan considered Picasso’s approach: “The role of the artist is to respect you, help you connect more deeply, and then leave it up to you to decide how to behave.”

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Categories: Environment

Krill found to break down microplastics – but it won't save the oceans

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 10:06pm

Digestion of plastic into much smaller fragments ‘doesn’t necessarily help pollution’, Australian researchers say

A world-first study by Australian researchers has found that krill can digest certain forms of microplastic into smaller – but no less pervasive – fragments.

The study, published in Nature Communications journal on Friday, found that Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, can break down 31.5 micron polyethylene balls into fragments less than one micron in diameter.

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Categories: Environment

Fukushima 360: walk through a ghost town in the nuclear disaster zone – video

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 8:53pm

Please note: Apple/IOS mobile users should view within the YouTube app

What happens to a town that has been abandoned for seven years after a nuclear meltdown? Greenpeace took former residents and a 360-degree camera into the radiation zone north of Fukushima to mark the anniversary of the disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi plant was damaged by a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake on the afternoon of 11 March 2011. The tsunami killed almost 19,000 people along the north-east coast of Japan and forced more than 150,000 others living near the plant to flee radiation. Some of the evacuated neighbourhoods are still deemed too dangerous for former residents to go back.

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Categories: Environment

Volkswagens in Australia using more diesel after recall, research finds

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 5:59pm

Australian Automobile Association calls for real-world testing after finding nitrogen oxide emissions four times the levels observed in lab

Volkswagen cars in Australia are guzzling up to 14% more diesel fuel after a recall fix designed to cut emissions, research has found, reigniting calls for emissions to be tested in the real world rather than a laboratory.

The analysis, commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association, which is campaigning for real-world testing, examined affected VW cars before recall and immediately after.

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Categories: Environment

Can Queensland Labor end broadscale land clearing, as promised?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 4:58pm

Green groups welcome proposed changes to land-clearing law but there are still reasons to doubt they are enough to halt the crisis

Last week, the Queensland government tabled a highly anticipated bill seeking to implement its promise to “end broadscale clearing in Queensland”.

Queensland is responsible for more tree clearing than the rest of the country combined, so making good on that promise would go a long way to halting Australia’s growing land clearing crisis.

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Categories: Environment

for conscience sake...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 12:32pm
Romans 13  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.       
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Poll of Malcolm Turnbull's electorate finds 75% back review of Adani approval

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 10:00am

Wentworth voters overwhelmingly favour review – including 70% of Liberal supporters

More than 75% of voters in Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney electorate of Wentworth would support reviewing the environmental approvals for the controversial Queensland Adani coalmine, according to a new opinion poll.

A ReachTel survey of 676 residents in the prime minister’s electorate, commissioned by the progressive thinktank, the Australia Institute, found an emphatic majority favoured a review of the project approvals, including 70% of Liberal voters.

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Categories: Environment

Will the Labrador energy switcher make you switch suppliers?

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 9:13am

Startup claims device will automatically switch smart-meter users three times a year and save them £300

A device that plugs into a home broadband router and automatically switches supplier when cheaper deals become available is set to revolutionise the home energy market.

The launch of Labrador comes as more and more people are changing their energy companies.

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Categories: Environment

'On a hot day, it's horrific': Alabama kicks up a stink over shipments of New York poo

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2018/03/11 - 4:00am

New York sends its treated sewage to other states to avoid dumping it in the sea – but it has plagued residents with a terrible stench

New York City is the beating heart of global finance, a cultural behemoth, and home to more than 8.5 million people who create an enormous amount of poo. Some of this expelled waste has been causing a major stink 900 miles away, in Alabama.

Related: Environmental racism case: EPA rejects Alabama town's claim over toxic landfill

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Categories: Environment

Prince Charles laments loss of craft skills in communities

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 4:21pm

Royal announces amalgamation of four charities to help protect communities and local heritage

The Prince of Wales has urged communities not to lose the dwindling skills that shaped the built environment and prevent specialist trades from disappearing “at an alarming rate”.

Ahead of his 70th birthday in November, the prince also said he was “deeply concerned” that young people were growing up without a basic understanding of how the world works and our relationship with food.

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Categories: Environment

The Bread Lab

The Field Lab - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 3:59pm
Two recipes taste perfected (Artisan White and Chupa Bread).  Now going for "the look".  78,87,53,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Big firms push to overturn uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 10:10am

Companies say mining poses scant threat but conservation groups say ban should remain until environmental risks have been fully explored

The US mining industry has asked the supreme court to overturn an Obama-era rule prohibiting the mining of uranium on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

Related: Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

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Categories: Environment

False emissions ratings cost UK more than £2bn a year – report

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2018/03/10 - 1:01am

Some new diesel models emit 12 times legal limit, while others ‘are the cleanest cars on the road’

False emissions ratings for cars based on lab tests have cost the UK more than £2bn a year in lost tax revenue, according to the Green party.

With CO2 emissions exceeding official measures by an average of 42%, millions of vehicles have been placed in tax bands that do not reflect their true levels of pollution, according to new research published on Saturday.

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Categories: Environment

a friday night film

The Field Lab - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 4:00pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Green power and water recycling: be switched on by switching off

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 2:20pm

Each Australian uses an average of 100,000 litres of water a year, and our electricity use is extreme. Our series Life Swaps looks at ways to reduce the load

Despite living on Earth’s driest populated continent, Australians throw around water as though the supply were endless. We are the planet’s greatest per capita consumers of water, with each person using an average 100,000 litres a year. Much of that is invisible to consumers, expended on the food and products we buy.

Our electricity use isn’t much better. A recent Environmental Justice Australia investigation found east coast coal-fired power stations – where emissions limits trail places such as China – are responsible for deadly pollution that causes a suspected 130 premature deaths a year in Sydney alone. Yet oil and coal remain our primary energy sources, powering 70% of the nation.

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Categories: Environment

UK defies EU over Indonesian palm oil trade, leaked papers show

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 10:27am

UK is pushing for a deal that would boost imports linked to deforestation despite EU moves to ban unsustainable palm oil, diplomatic papers reveal

The UK is defying EU institutions to push for a hike in nominally “sustainable” Indonesian palm oil imports which have nonetheless been linked to deforestation, leaked documents show.

The European parliament is currently trying to force a ban on EU biofuels using palm oil, which have driven deforestation and contributed to the loss of 150,000 orangutans in Indonesia since 2002.

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Categories: Environment

Getting Climate Change Right: In Light Of The Stars

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2018/03/09 - 9:52am

When it comes to facing global warming, dealing with climate change and making informed choices for our cherished "project of civilization," we've been asking the wrong question, says Adam Frank.

(Image credit: Getty Images/WIN-Initiative RM)

Categories: Environment
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