Refugees hit hardest as deadly floods sweep across continents

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/07/31 - 9:00am

Death toll rises as storms continue to rip through communities, destroying homes and livelihoods

As heavy rains and floods dominate headlines around the world, displaced people and those living in conflict zones are among the worst affected.

Wind and heavy rain from monsoons and typhoons has bombarded much of Asia. There have also been downpours and flash floods in parts of Latin America and Africa.

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Categories: Environment

One man dead after hundreds of stings from Arizona bee swarm

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/07/31 - 7:37am
  • Two people required hospital treatment after being stung
  • Large open hive thought to weigh 100lb found nearby

One man died and two people required hospital treatment after they were stung “hundreds of times” by swarming bees near Tucson, Arizona this week.

Related: Decimated by famine, Florida’s manatees face an uncertain future

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Categories: Environment

Western Wildfires Have Destroyed More Than Last Year, And It's Not Even Peak Season

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2021/07/31 - 5:43am

Extreme heat and on-going drought have made Western wildfires a national challenge this summer, with smoke moving from coast-to-coast. The peak of fire season isn't even here yet.

Categories: Environment

In the shadow of Paradise, nearby residents make uneasy peace with fire

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/07/31 - 4:53am

Smoke, closed businesses and constant worry have changed life for those living with disaster on their doorstep

The Dixie fire was consuming vast swaths of land in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but in the nearby valley city of Chico, California, it was a typical summer day.

The temperature had already climbed past 102F and a dusting of smoke was pushing air quality to unhealthy levels. Yet at the One Mile city park on Wednesday, college students lay in the shade of oak trees, kids splashed around Sycamore Pool and cyclists raced by.

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Categories: Environment

Decimated by famine, Florida’s manatees face an uncertain future

Guardian Environment News - Sat, 2021/07/31 - 2:00am

2021 is already the deadliest year on record for Florida manatees. Scientists and activists are scrambling to avert further disaster

On a bright morning in July, a crowd gathered on a boat ramp in St Augustine, Florida, awaiting the arrival of a young male manatee named Gerard. The marshy Matanzas River gently flowed around oyster beds and sawgrass islands as biologists organized their equipment. Nearby about a dozen onlookers paced by the shore, waiting to catch a glimpse of Gerard’s return to the wild following weeks of captivity.

Earlier in spring, beachgoers discovered Gerard stranded and sunbaked in Palm Coast, about 25 miles south of St Augustine, on the Atlantic Ocean. Samaritans draped wet towels over the feeble marine mammal, keeping him cool and shaded from the subtropical sun, as a rescue team raced to the scene. Gravely thin, Gerard was transported to Jacksonville Zoo, where he spent the next 10 weeks in critical care until he was plump enough to re-enter the wild.

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Categories: Environment

Floods block food from reaching thousands of refugees in Colombia

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 11:01pm

Families fleeing drug gangs and paramilitaries have been cut off, with government accused of being ‘incapable’ of protecting them

Flooding and landslides have left thousands of refugees cut off from food supplies in Ituango, the conflict-strewn municipality in north-western Colombia.

Roads have been blocked by mud and debris after heavy rains, while helicopters have been unable to land. As a result, the delivery of food and medical supplies has been stymied, and communications cut off.

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Categories: Environment

Lab-grown dairy is the future of milk, researchers say

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 11:00pm

Startups are joining the race to create first imitation cow’s milk by artificially reproducing proteins in curds and whey

For decades, people on plant-based diets were restricted to soya-based options to recreate dairy, until veganism went mainstream and a clutch of palate-pleasing almond, coconut and oat-based alternatives emerged. Last week, Swedish scientists launched a potato milk, equally lauded for its sustainability credentials and criticised for deriving from a humdrum carbohydrate. The holy grail now – according to researchers – is genuine dairy milk, made in a lab.

A growing number of startups from Silicon Valley to Singapore are rapidly joining the race to create the first imitation cow’s milk, based on artificially reproducing the proteins in curds (casein) and whey, that is suitable for mass market consumption.

Scientists say it will recreate dairy’s authentic mouthfeel and temperature resistance, and constitute the perfect texture for vegan cheese, capable of melting just like the real thing.

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Categories: Environment

Given The Choice Between Prison Life And Fighting Wildfires, These Women Chose Fire

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 12:48pm

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with writer Jaime Lowe about her new book, Breathing Fire, which tells the stories of the incarcerated women who are part of California's wildfire crews.

(Image credit: MCD)

Categories: Environment

Turkish fires sweeping through tourist areas are the hottest on record

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 10:13am

Thousands of holidaymakers evacuated from Aegean Sea resorts as country fights more than 50 blazes

The heat intensity of wildfires in Turkey on Thursday was four times higher than anything on record for the nation, according to satellite data passed on to the Guardian.

At least four people were killed by blazes that swept through the tourist regions of Antalya and Muğla, forcing thousands of holidaymakers to be evacuated from their hotels by a flotilla of boats.

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Categories: Environment

UK waste firm fined £1.5m for exporting household waste

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 10:02am

Biffa convicted of exporting filthy rubbish marked as waste paper for recycling in India and Indonesia in breach of ban

The UK’s largest waste company, Biffa, has been fined £1.5m after exporting filthy rubbish marked as waste paper for recycling in India and Indonesia, in actions a judge called “reckless, bordering on deliberate”.

Last week, the company was convicted of sending more than 1,000 tonnes of household waste to India and Indonesia, in breach of a ban on sending such waste to developing countries after a two-week trial at Wood Green crown court .

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Categories: Environment

Greenland: enough ice melted on single day to cover Florida in two inches of water

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 9:44am
  • Data shows ice sheet lost 8.5bn tons of surface mass on Tuesday
  • All-time record temperature of 19.8C in region on Wednesday

Greenland’s vast ice sheet is undergoing a surge in melting, with the amount of ice vanishing in a single day this week enough to cover the whole of Florida in two inches of water, researchers have found.

The deluge of melting has reached deep into Greenland’s enormous icy interior, with data from the Danish government showing that the ice sheet lost 8.5bn tons of surface mass on Tuesday alone. A further 8.4bn tons was lost on Thursday, the Polar Portal monitoring website reported.

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Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 4:00am

The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including a released frog, rescued kestrel chicks and frisky sharks

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Categories: Environment

Is the UK lagging behind in greening its cities?

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2021/07/30 - 12:42am

Some problems can seem intractable but projects worldwide show change is possible

Around the globe many cities are redesigning themselves for the 21st century, but will the UK be left behind?

Pressures on the UK’s urban environments are likely to increase, according to a report from the Environment Agency. Eight out of 10 people call these areas home and urban populations are expected to be 18% greater by 2036 than they were in 2011. Although the air that we breathe in our towns and cities has improved hugely since the 1950s, progress on particle pollution has stalled in recent years. In 2019, three-quarters of the UK’s reporting zones still failed legal limits for nitrogen dioxide that were set in 1999.

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Return of the pack: African wild dogs’ epic journey to a new home in Malawi

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 10:30pm

In an ‘absolute win’ for the endangered species, 14 dogs were transported by road and air to a ‘safe space’ in a country they have not populated in large numbers for decades

Under cover of night, a pack of African wild dogs swarms around an impala carcass. Awake and hungry after a 27-hour transcontinental journey, this animated scene in Liwonde national park is a sign of “mission accomplished”: African wild dogs are back in Malawi.

“The feeling is absolutely surreal and so emotional,” says Cole du Plessis, coordinator of the Wild Dog Range Expansion Project, who this week oversaw the successful translocation of the 14 African wild dogs from South Africa and Mozambique to Malawi’s Liwonde national park and Majete wildlife reserve. “When we flew into Liwonde, on the final leg of the journey, and I saw all the vehicles waiting, I’ll admit I got a bit teary. It’s such an incredible feeling to finally have the dogs here safely.”

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Categories: Environment

Origin Energy slashes value of Australia’s biggest coal-fired plant due to impact of cheap renewables

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 9:52pm

Shares tumble after company announces $1.5bn asset writedown and lower expected earnings

Origin Energy has slashed the value of its assets, including Australia’s biggest coal-fired power plant, by more than $1.5bn as cheap power from renewables floods the national grid.

Company shares tumbled as much as 10% on Friday morning after Origin announced the writedown and lower expected earnings next year to the Australian Securities Exchange, before recovering slightly to be down about 7.85% about 12.45pm.

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Categories: Environment

Decades-Long Restoration Effort Has Returned Wetlands To Florida's Kissimmee River

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 1:26pm

Florida's Kissimmee River was channelized and dredged for flood control, but after a decades-long restoration effort, headwaters of the Everglades have returned to a more natural wetlands ecosystem.

Categories: Environment

New Study Links Rate Of Emissions To Extreme Weather

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 1:21pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Dr. Jennifer Francis, an expert who studies disproportionate Earth warming, about the new study linking the rate of emissions to the likelihood of extreme heat.

Categories: Environment

A bat: In the city, they fly along routes that mirror roads | Helen Sullivan

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 1:00pm

In the city, they fly along routes that mirror roads

Every evening in Sydney, clouds of bats move across the sky. They time their trip so that there is just too little light to make out anything more than a silhouette – which is just enough light so that you can see, very clearly, the outlines of their legs and feet knocking together – an entrechat – as they flap their wings.

I’m not sure that I will ever stop having the exact same thought about this: “Oh my God, you can see their feet knocking together. Oh my God.”

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Categories: Environment

Foreign control of North Sea oil licences threatens UK’s net zero goal

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 11:03am

Study warns regulator must take action as private equity firms and state-backed groups begin to dominate

Foreign control of North Sea oil licences could put the UK’s plans to reach net zero emissions at risk, a study has warned.

The research shows state-backed fossil fuel companies and private equity firms are taking a tighter grip on North Sea oil, raising concerns about the government’s ability to wind down fossil fuel production and secure a “just transition” for workers.

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Categories: Environment

Ryegrass, fire ants and feral cats: major Australian study identifies costliest pests in past 60 years

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2021/07/29 - 10:30am

The study identifies each state’s most economically damaging species and warns costs could rise further without investment

Invasive plants, animals and diseases have cost Australia at least $390bn in damages and management costs over the past 60 years, according to research that has painted the most accurate picture yet of the economic burden of these invaders.

Feral cats are the costliest of the hundreds of individual species studied, accounting for just over $10bn in damages and management expenses. Rodents, pigs and rabbits came close behind.

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