The UK’s biggest ever oil spill in 1967 taught invaluable lessons about the response to disasters, toughened up shipping safety and stirred green activism
“I saw this huge ship sailing and I thought he’s in rather close, I hope he knows what he’s doing,” recalled Gladys Perkins of the day 50 years ago, when Britain experienced its worst ever environmental disaster.Continue reading...
George Orwell wrote a shocking account of a colonial policeman who kills an elephant and is filled with self-loathing. But was this fiction – or a confession? An Orwell expert introduces the original story
British imperialism being a largely commercial concern, when Burma became a part of the empire in 1886 the exploitation of its forests accelerated. Since motorised transport was useless in such hilly terrain, the timber companies used elephants. These docile, intelligent creatures were worth their weight in gold, hauling logs, stacking them near streams, launching them on their way and sometimes even clearing log jams that the foresters could not shift.
In the 1920s a young would-be poet, an ex-Etonian named Eric Blair, arrived as a Burma Police recruit and was posted to several places, culminating in Moulmein. Here he was accused of killing a timber company elephant, the chief of police saying he was a disgrace to Eton. Blair resigned while back in England on leave, and published several books under his assumed name, George Orwell.Continue reading...
How the Guardian reported the grounding of the Torrey Canyon supertanker and what was then the world’s worst oil spill
On 18 March 1967, the Torrey Canyon, one of the world’s biggest tankers, ran aground between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly, leaking more than 100,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. It was the UK’s worst oil spill to date, causing major environmental damage with more than 20,000 sea birds contaminated. The first Guardian report about the disaster appeared on 20 March.
New Forest To some, fallen timber makes for an untidy forest. There was a time when the woodsmen would have cleared much of it away. Not now
We’re standing deep into the trees, looking through an oval porthole constructed from the boughs of a toppled oak. The sun is filtering through the still bare canopy to light up the story of this wood. As we look through the window, we are taken into its past, present and future.
The brown of autumn’s leaf drop mingles with the emerald-green of mosses. To one side, dark-green stems of butchers’ broom promise flashes of ripened scarlet berries in months to come. The stiletto blades of bluebells are just breaking free of the blanket of fallen leaves that has protected their bulbs through the winter months. Already they suggest a scene transformed, as yesterday’s base-brown becomes a wash of blue. Tall, erect trunks stand like sentinels in a painted backdrop, and mid-stage lies a tangle of branches, looking as though some huge beast has shed its antlers.Continue reading...
Bird appears on campus in Queensland where it was spotted standing in front of a glass door admiring itself
A bird that was photographed staring at its own reflection has risen to fame in Australia after university students made it its own Facebook page.
The bush stone-curlew appeared on campus at Queensland University of Technology in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, on Tuesday, where it was spotted standing in front of a glass door, apparently admiring itself.Continue reading...
KLP is pulling millions of dollars it has invested in companies building and owning the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision was reportedly driven by pressure from Norway's indigenous Sami peoples.
(Image credit: Nati Harnik/AP)
What questions do you have about the toll that climate change is taking — and about possible solutions?
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The week’s top environment news stories and green events. If you are not already receiving this roundup, sign up here to get the briefing delivered to your inboxContinue reading...
Devastating downpour, caused by high ocean temperatures, could not have been predicted, president said, months after state of emergency declared for wildfires
Sixty-seven people have been killed and thousands more forced to evacuate by intense rains which damaged 115,000 homes and destroyed more than 100 bridges in Peru’s worst floods in recent memory.
“We are confronting a serious climatic problem,” said Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in a broadcast to the nation on Friday afternoon. “There hasn’t been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998.”Continue reading...
International Energy Agency report puts halt in emissions from energy down to growth in renewable power
Carbon dioxide emissions from energy have not increased for three years in a row even as the global economy grew, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.
Global emissions from the energy sector were 32.1bn tonnes in 2016, the same as the previous two years, while the economy grew 3.1%, the organisation said.Continue reading...
Nesting bald eagles, Adélie penguins and a newly hatched Komodo dragon are among this week’s pick of images from the natural worldContinue reading...
Court rules government should have used regulatory powers to force nuclear plant’s operator to take preventive measures
A court in Japan has ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees.
Although courts have awarded damages arising from the disaster in other cases, Friday’s ruling is the first time the government has been held liable.Continue reading...
A rainy winter has brought an early spring to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California. Wildflowers are in bloom. How can seeds survive years of drought and then put on such a display?
(Image credit: Nina Gregory/NPR)
New South Wales environmental defenders office takes action against developers of freight terminal after the shrub hibbertia fumana found on site
A newly rediscovered rare plant – thought to have become extinct almost 200 years ago – has sparked a legal action in Sydney’s west against a development that threatens the flower’s only known location.
About 370 specimens of Hibbertia fumana – a small flowering shrub endemic to Sydney – were found on the grounds of the proposed 83-hectare Simta Moorebank transport hub late last year.
Number of feral animals in Australia’s largest national park has risen to more than 30,000, manager says
More than 6,000 wild horses, buffalo, pigs and donkeys have been killed in Kakadu national park as part of a new feral animal management plan negotiated with traditional owners.
The cull, conducted by helicopter shooters over 24 days, destroyed 3,654 horses, 1,965 buffalo, 294 pigs and a small number of donkeys.Continue reading...
Bill passes house in middle of night in tumultuous day which sees Labor opposition leader replaced just hours after announcing retirement
The Tasmanian government is defending a controversial plan to to reverse a moratorium on logging old growth forests, despite the forestry industry warning it risks damaging the Tasmanian brand and undermining attempts at sustainable forestry certification.
The Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) Bill 2017 passed the lower house of the Tasmanian parliament at 3.30am on Friday, following a 12-hour debate.Continue reading...
Cromford, Derbyshire The towpath is popular with Derbyshire folk making their version of the passeggiata, often with dogs, and the water vole is easily spooked
William Jessop was a generous man, always ready to give a fellow engineer a leg up. Building the Cromford canal, in the Derbyshire Dales, he hired Benjamin Outram, the son of a local investor, as his assistant. Their great work terminates at Cromford Wharf, once a harbinger of the industrial revolution, now dozing in the evening sunshine, its crumbling stonework the colour of honey.
The northern section of the canal, five miles from the wharf to Ambergate, is a site of special scientific interest, noted for being a last redoubt for water voles, a change of use I doubt Jessop could have foreseen.Continue reading...
Adani ‘categorically’ rejects letter signed by 91 prominent Australians as protesters confront Queensland premier during tour of Adani’s Indian HQ
Cricket great Ian Chappell has stood by his opposition to the Adani mine proposal as part of a group of prominent Australians branded “elitist wankers” by a federal government MP and “a very small group of misled people” by the Indian miner.
Chappell said it was “worthwhile” if joining his brother Greg in an open letter calling on the Indian miner to abandon its coal plan thrust the issue into the public spotlight in its cricket-loving homeland.Continue reading...
The state lacks the rainfall, rivers and mountains to run a conventional hydro system, but the ocean could step in
The federal government has announced a $2 billion plan to expand the iconic Snowy Hydro scheme. It will carry out a feasibility study into the idea of adding “pumped hydro” storage capacity, which it says could power up to 500,000 homes.
Hydro is one of the oldest and most mature electricity generation technologies. And pumped hydro storage – in which water is pumped uphill for later use, rather than simply flowing downriver through a hydro power station – is the dominant form of energy storage globally.Continue reading...
Boy’s body recovered from creek bed after he was sucked into a storm water drain in an Unanderra park while riding a bodyboard
The body of an 11-year-old boy who was sucked into a storm water drain in the New South Wales Illawarra region has been recovered in a nearby creek bed.
Ryan Teasdale was last seen riding a bodyboard with his brother and friends in Riley Park in Unanderra on Thursday afternoon as torrential rain swept through the area. His brother raised the alarm about 4.30pm when he couldn’t find him.Continue reading...