Museum of Natural History urged to cut ties with 'anti-science propagandist' Rebekah Mercer

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 5:00pm

More than 100 scientists have urged the museum to sever its ties with Mercer, one of Donald Trump’s top donors

The American Museum of Natural History is under pressure to sever its ties to Rebekah Mercer, one of Donald Trump’s top donors who has used her family’s fortune to fund groups that seek to undermine scientists’ work on climate change.

More than 200 scientists have put their names to a letter that urges the museum to “end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation” and axe Mercer from its board of trustees, a position she has held since 2013.

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Categories: Environment

New Fossil Found In Israel Suggests A Much Earlier Human Migration Out Of Africa

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 4:24pm

Scientists have discovered a part of a fossilized human skull that's around 180,000 years old. It is now the oldest human fossil outside Africa.

(Image credit: Gerhard Weber/University of Vienna/Science)

Categories: Environment

Rebellious Cow Finds Winter Home Among Polish Bison

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 2:57pm

She has been spotted twice on the outskirts of Poland's Bialowieza Forest. She appears to be healthy, but she'll need to be removed from the herd before mating season.

(Image credit: Rafal Kowalczyk/AP)

Categories: Environment

Supplies Of Valuable Ginseng Root Dwindling

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 2:21pm

Ginseng is a prized root in demand for it's wide use in traditional Chinese medicine. Some of the most valuable ginseng grows wild in Appalachia, but supplies are dwindling.

Categories: Environment

Plastic Pollution Is Killing Coral Reefs, 4-Year Study Finds

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 12:01pm

A study in the Pacific Ocean finds that bags and bottles are sickening and killing reefs from Thailand to Australia. Coral reefs already are susceptible to disease due to unusually warm water.

(Image credit: Michael O'Neill/Science Source)

Categories: Environment

Billions of pieces of plastic on coral reefs send disease soaring, research reveals

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 12:00pm

A major new study estimates 11bn pieces of plastic contaminate vital reefs and result in infections: ‘It’s like getting gangrene,’ scientists warn

Billions of pieces of plastic pollution are snagged on coral reefs, sending disease rates soaring, new research has revealed. The discovery compounds the damage being done to a vital habitat that already faces an existential threat from the warming caused by climate change.

Scientists examined 125,000 corals across the Asia-Pacific region, home to half the world’s reefs, and found 89% of those fouled by plastic were suffering disease. On plastic-free reefs, only 4% of the corals were diseased.

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Categories: Environment

Air pollution will damage UK health for ‘many years', court told

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 11:27am

Government is being sued for third time to act quickly on illegal levels of toxic air

Air pollution will continue to take a heavy toll on people’s health for many years to come unless the UK government is forced once again to improve its action plan, the high court has been told.

Ministers have already had two previous plans declared illegal but environmental lawyers ClientEarth argue that even the latest plan fails to cut widespread illegal levels of pollution in the “shortest possible time”, as required by EU law.

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Categories: Environment

Blow to fracking firms as UK insists on financial checks

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 11:10am

Companies seeking exploration rights need to prove they can bear clean-up costs as business secretary tightens consent rules

Fracking companies must undergo financial health checks if they want to win a green light for their operations, the business secretary has said, as the industry faces another barrier to exploration in the UK.

The decision comes after a Barclays-backed company hoping to be the first to frack in the UK for seven years suffered a blow when the business secretary, Greg Clark, said he was withholding consent because of the state of its accounts.

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Categories: Environment

BBC to air major nature series written and directed by women

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 10:59am

Anne Sommerfield, a director of Animals With Cameras, says ‘we were just the best candidates’

BBC One will break new ground next week by broadcasting its first major natural history series written and directed entirely by women.

The programme, Animals With Cameras, also features a diverse cast: its meerkats, chimps, cheetahs and penguins all turn camera operators to capture unprecedented footage that will help scientists understand and protect threatened species.

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Categories: Environment

Naked veggies and a ringing rebuke | Brief letters

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 10:45am
Kettle’s Yard loan scheme | Plastic packaging | Books on shelves | Bayeux tapestry | Bell-ringing

It is true that we no longer lend out the Ben Nicholsons and Alfred Wallises that Harland Walshaw was lucky enough to choose from as a student (Letters, 24 January), but we do still invite students in to Kettle’s Yard to choose a work of art, which for a small deposit and a modest fee they can hang on their walls for the year. And there are some beautiful works to choose from. We do love to hear the stories from those who enjoyed Jim Ede’s generosity when he was still living here.
Andrew Nairne
Director, Kettle’s Yard

• As I hunted through Sainsbury’s recently for unpackaged vegetables (MPs urge supermarkets to banish plastic waste, 20 January), my route to the nice, clean carrots and leeks – two of the very few naked veggies on display – was blocked by shoppers carefully decanting them into plastic bags.
Vicky Woodcraft
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

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Categories: Environment

Are you a mosquito magnet? Swatting really can deter them, study shows

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 10:07am

Researchers have discovered why mosquitoes prefer some people over others – and how a swat teaches them to avoid you

Researchers have found a solution for those plagued by mosquitoes: thrash about, and the insects will learn to give you a wide berth.

While it has long been known that mosquitoes favour some individuals over others – and can shift those preferences when availability is scarce – it was not clear what was behind the switch.

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Categories: Environment

'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward 30 seconds to 2 minutes to midnight

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 9:54am

In the face of nuclear weapons and climate change, scientists moved the clock forward, putting much of the blame on the Trump administration

The risk to global civilisation is as high today as it has ever been in the face of twin threats, nuclear weapons and climate change, a group of leading scientists has announced, putting a significant share of the blame on the Trump administration.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its symbolic Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds, to two minutes to midnight, in a reflection of how the scientists view the dangers facing the world.

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Categories: Environment

Communities offered £1m a year to host nuclear waste dump

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2018/01/25 - 4:57am

New search for communities willing to host underground site for thousands of years

Local communities around England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be offered £1m a year to volunteer to host an underground nuclear waste disposal facility for thousands of years, as part of a rebooted government programme.

The financial incentive is one way the government hopes to encourage communities to host the £12bn facility, after previous efforts failed in 2013 when Cumbria county council rejected the project.

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Categories: Environment

Why beetles are the most important organisms on the planet | Richard Jones

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2018/01/24 - 11:45pm

From the minuscule to the mighty, tree-dwellers to pond-swimmers, millions of beetle species reveal a wealth of information about the world we live in

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Categories: Environment
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