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Updated: 45 weeks 1 day ago

Is Sustainability Still Possible?

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 13:34
Worldwatch: In today’s society, the word “sustainable” has become practically meaningless, with most sustainable products just a step less bad than conventional alternatives. Because of the power of “sustainababble,” the world has largely ignored the rich spectrum of political, cultural, and technological changes that would set us on the path to a truly sustainable future. Although the science of sustainability is clearer than ever, we still face the question of whether transforming our society into one guided...
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The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic with a Floating ‘Ocean Cleanup Array’

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 12:21
EcoWatch: As the policy director of the ocean conservation nonprofit 5Gyres.org, I can tell you that the problem of ocean plastic pollution is massive. In case you didn’t know, an ocean gyre is a rotating current that circulates within one of the world’s oceans--and recent research has found that these massive systems are filled with plastic waste. There are no great estimates (at least scientific) on how much plastic is in the ocean, but I can say from firsthand knowledge (after sailing to four of the...
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Eco-change triggers rapid evolution

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 06:48
BBC: Changes to their surroundings can trigger "rapid evolution" in species as they adopt traits to help them survive in the new conditions, a study shows. Studying soil mites in a laboratory, researchers found that the invertebrates' age of maturity almost doubled in just 20-or-so generations. It had been assumed that evolutionary change only occurred over a much longer timescale. The findings have been published in the journal Ecology Letters. "What this study shows for the first time is...
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Japan's quake-crippled nuclear plant "losing faith" in leaking water pits

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 05:10
Reuters: The company that runs a Japanese nuclear power plant destroyed by a tsunami two years ago said on Tuesday it was losing faith in temporary storage pits for radioactive water - but it doesn't have anywhere else to put it. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it had found a new leak at one of the pits at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Three out of seven storage pits are now leaking, compounding clean-up difficulties after the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. "We cannot deny the fact that...
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Canada: Report offers strategies to deal with flood risk

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 05:00
Nanaimo Bulletin: A new report showcasing a range of strategies for dealing with flood risks associated with sea level rise was released last week. “Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer: A Toolkit to Build Adaptive Capacity on Canada’s South Coasts” provides professionals and local authorities with information on 21 tools that local governments and other authorities can use to implement a sea level rise adaptation strategy. The primer was developed to support climate change adaptation decision-making by local governments...
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Adaptation: As Australia prepares for new weather extremes, political opposition mounts

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 05:00
ClimateWire: Australia is no stranger to extremes. The country has long experienced extreme heat, prolonged drought and severe wildfires. It's about to get worse. In the coming decade and beyond, the nation should gird itself for even more extremes caused by climate change, say the authors of a new report from the country's Climate Commission, an independent body of experts appointed to report on what climate change will mean for the nation. New images of the Earth at night show a brightness in largely...
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Exxon Fake Twitter Account Suspended After Mocking Oil Giant's Response To Spill

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 04:00
Huffingtin Post: A parody Twitter account mocking Exxon's response to spill clean-up in Arkansas has been suspended by Twitter. The account, which creators say was inspired by BP parody account @BPGlobalPR, was formed Tuesday, several days after Exxon's Pegasus pipeline spewed an estimated 84,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into residential streets in Mayflower, Ark. The parody Exxon account @ExxonCares, which HuffPost first wrote about Friday, garnered more than 600 followers and attention from Twitter celebrities...
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Gulf of Mexico can 'self-deep-clean'

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 01:41
BBC: New details have emerged about "self-cleaning" effects in the Gulf of Mexico witnessed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers reporting at the American Chemical Society conference revealed details of a cascade of micro-organisms that spring into action to degrade oil. Research has also outlined how chemical "dispersants" used in clean-up efforts actually frustrate these processes. However, the long-term effects of the weeks of oil exposure remain unknown. And concern...
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Groups Petition DOE to Revise Out-of-Date Policy for Approving Natural Gas Exports

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 00:36
EcoWatch: Today, the Sierra Club and a list of environmental coalition partners have filed a petition with the Department of Energy (DOE) to revise the nearly 30-year-old policy guidelines for approving natural gas exports. The petition urges the DOE to establish new regulations or guidance, defining how the DOE will review and approve applications to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals. Organizations that have signed the petition include Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Center for Biological...
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The ethics of resurrecting extinct species

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 21:30
ScienceDaily: At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption. Within a few decades, scientists may be able to bring back the dodo bird from extinction, a possibility that raises a host of ethical questions, says Stanford law Professor Hank Greely. Twenty years after the release of Jurassic Park, the dream of bringing back the dinosaurs remains science fiction. But scientists predict that within 15 years...
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Gulf of Mexico has greater-than-believed ability to self-cleanse oil spills

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 20:29
ScienceDaily: The Gulf of Mexico may have a much greater natural ability to self-clean oil spills than previously believed, an expert in bioremediation said on April 8 in New Orleans at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Terry C. Hazen, Ph.D., said that conclusion has emerged from research following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which by some estimates spilled 4.9 million barrels (210 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. His research team used...
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California Sea Lion Strandings Alarm Scientists

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 19:11
EcoWatch: California sea lions, a regular fixture alongside many areas of the Golden State’s 1,100 mile coastline, are known for their playful dog-like antics and social manner. Tourists from all over the globe visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Point Lobos, Channel Islands and other gathering areas to catch a glimpse of these animals, once referred to as “dog-headed mermaids.” Since their listing under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the California sea lion population has increased to more than 200,000...
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Rapid climate change and the role of the Southern Ocean

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 18:03
ScienceDaily: Scientists from Cardiff University and the University of Barcelona have discovered new clues about past rapid climate change. The research, published this month in the journal Nature Geoscience, concludes that oceanographic reorganisations and biological processes are linked to the supply of airborne dust in the Southern Ocean and this connection played a key role in past rapid fluctuations of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, an important component in the climate system. The scientists studied...
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Manatees Dying in Record Numbers from Toxic Algal Bloom

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 16:07
EcoWatch: 2013 is shaping up to be a particularly deadly year for the endangered Florida manatee, whose population is estimated at around 5,000 animals. More than 460 dead manatees have been documented in the first three months of this year--an alarmingly high number. It has already topped the number of manatees that died all of last year. What’s going on here? More than 460 dead manatees have been documented in the first three months of this year. Well, among other threats, these aquatic mammals are...
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Probing the Reasons Behind The Changing Pace of Warming

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 13:01
Yale Environment 360: Whatever happened to global warming? Right now, that question is a good way of starting a heated argument. Some say it is steaming ahead. But others say it has stalled, gone into reverse, or never happened at all -- and they don’t all run oil companies or vote Republican. So what is going on? First, talk of global cooling is palpable nonsense. This claim relies on the fact that no year has yet been hotter than 1998, an exceptional year with a huge planet-warming El Nino in the Pacific Ocean....
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Air pollution impacts coral growth, scientists report

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 08:19
CBS News: Coral reefs are truly a beautiful piece of our world, and yet they are also extremely useful. The reefs are home to a large and varied group of plants and animals, and are in fact the most diverse of all ocean ecosystems. Twenty five percent of all ocean species rely on coral reefs for food and shelter, so it comes as no surprise that our oceans are in serious trouble if they are unable to keep growing. A new study conducted by a team of climate scientists and coral ecologists from the United...
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Air pollution 'affects coral growth'

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 06:38
BBC: Researchers have found the strongest evidence yet that aerosols from burning fossil fuels are affecting coral growth. They say that these sooty particles can cool sea surface temperatures and limit the size of reefs. But they also believe this chilling effect could prevent the corals from bleaching in warmer waters. The research is published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Coral reefs all over the world have been under pressure from a range of human impacts. With a rise in global...
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Slaking a Region’s Thirst While Cleaning Its Beaches

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 23:51
New York Times: Surfers here have long lived by a simple rule: When it rains, no matter how good the waves may be, stay out of the water. Those who do head out to the Venice Pier on a rainy day might have their bravery (or naïveté) repaid with pinkeye, a fever or diarrhea. “The water will have this weird, funky smell to it,” said Sean Stanley, 26, who has been surfing here his entire life. “It’s murky. You’ll see soda cans and plastic bottles, oil from the cars. All the runoff from the city gets in there.” Even...
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Northern Ireland launches plastic bag levy

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 23:05
BusinessGreen: Retailers in Northern Ireland will today start charging at least five pence for each carrier bag handed out to customers, as part of a drive across the province to reduce plastic waste. The Northern Ireland Executive has introduced the Carrier Bag Levy, in a move designed to significantly reduce the 250 million carrier bags distributed in the country each year. Northern Ireland follows in the footsteps of Wales, which introduced a similar charge in 2011 and subsequently cut handouts of bags...
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Pollution slows coral reef growth

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 18:09
PlanetEarth: Fine particles produced by burning fossil fuels are slowing coral reef growth, say scientists. The new research, which is published today in Nature Geoscience, shows for the first time that there is a clear link between the speed at which corals grow, and pollution caused by human activity. The international team found that when these fine particles -- known as aerosols -- are released into the atmosphere by either volcanic eruptions or burning coal, they reflect incoming sunlight and shade...
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