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‘Farmers are digging their own graves’: true cost of growing food in Spain’s arid south

Guardian Environment News - Tue, 2021/11/16 - 12:30am

Intensive agriculture’s insatiable thirst for water is turning wetland to wasteland, draining rivers and polluting groundwater

A wetland without water is a melancholy sight. The fish are dead, the birds have flown and a lifeless silence hangs over the place. “Everything you see around you should be under water,” says Ecologists in Action’s Rafa Gosálvez from the lookout in Las Tablas de Daimiel national park. The park has been dry for three years and where there were once aquatic species such as ducks, herons, egrets and freshwater crayfish, as well as tree frogs and the European polecat, now the wildlife has mostly vanished.

Las Tablas de Daimiel is a unique wetland in the vast, almost treeless plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. But the park has had the life sucked out of it to slake intensive agriculture’s insatiable thirst.

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Categories: Environment

NSW floods: Forbes residents ordered to evacuate before water closes roads

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 7:16pm

With major flooding from Lachlan River forecast, emergency services warn residents ‘it may be too dangerous to rescue you’ if they remain

People in low-lying parts of the New South Wales central western town of Forbes have been ordered to evacuate ahead of major flooding that was predicted to inundate the district within hours.

The evacuation order was issued by the State Emergency Service at 11.15am on Tuesday, warning residents to evacuate before 9.30pm.

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Categories: Environment

The big switch: how my 'electricity deal' ended up costing me more | Bruce Mountain for The Conversation

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 7:02pm

When I switched electricity retailers, I didn’t get the cheap offer I wanted, but one of the most expensive

Households in most of Australia have been able to choose between electricity retailers for more than a decade. The main reason is to reduce their bills.

But past research by the Victoria Energy Policy Centre (at Victoria University) has found only marginal benefits in switching retailers. Our study of more than 48,000 bills from Victorian households in 2018, for example, found households typically saved less than $50 a year by switching energy providers.

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Categories: Environment

More than 500 people stung by scorpions flushed out by storms in Egypt

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 6:34pm

Storms forced scorpions from their hiding places into many houses across the province of Aswan

More than 500 people have been hospitalised by scorpion stings in southern Egypt after storms forced the creatures out of their hiding places and into houses, state-run media has reported.

Over the weekend, the province of Aswan was hit by rare downpours, hail and thunder in which three people died, governor Ashraf Attia said. However, those who were stung by scorpions were given anti-venom doses and were later discharged.

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Categories: Environment

Record rainfall prompts evacuations along the Pacific north-west

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 6:31pm

Communities in western Canada and Washington state forced to flee homes after record downpour leads to severe floods

Communities in western Canada who were forced to flee their homes this summer by wildfires and extreme heat are once again under evacuation orders after overwhelming floods across the region.

The heavy rainfall and pounding storms are also taking a toll on the US Pacific north-west, where flooding and mudslides in Washington state have also forced evacuations and school closures.

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Categories: Environment

Amazon birds are shrinking as the climate warms, prompting warning from scientists

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 5:43pm

A new study examined 77 bird species in the Amazon over a 40-year period. It found they were rapidly evolving due to rising temperatures because smaller birds shed heat more efficiently.

(Image credit: Majority World/Universal Images Group via Getty)

Categories: Environment

more totes...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 3:40pm


Just got in eighteen more 64 oz Sterilite storage boxes so the fall cleaning can continue.  The new rule is any thing else that won't fit into this last tote order has to get thrown away.  77,83,37,0,B

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Boris Johnson confirms that Cop26 went well – and was definitely in Glasgow

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 1:17pm

Tory benches were sparsely filled as PM addressed the Commons, though Geoffrey Cox was back

Boris Johnson did get one thing right in his Commons statement on Cop26. In the previous day’s press conference he had been adamant it had taken place in Edinburgh. Overnight he had been corrected and was now able to accurately locate the climate change summit as being in Glasgow. It was this kind of attention to detail that had made the conference such an outstanding success. Or at least the prime minister’s rose-tinted version of it.

Even so, the Conservative benches were noticeably less full than the opposition’s. Either most Tory MPs weren’t so convinced that Cop26 had been a triumph or they still haven’t forgiven Boris for making them look like mugs over the Owen Paterson vote. Or maybe they had got wind of the fact that Johnson had what sounded like the beginnings of a nasty cold – his voice was no more than a muted rasp – and didn’t want to take the chance of picking up his germs. Clearly the last two years have taught him nothing about the spread of infectious diseases.

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Categories: Environment

Wholesale energy prices hit second highest level in at least three years

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 11:32am

Low wind speeds on Monday pushed UK price for peak period of 5pm to 6pm to over £2,000 per megawatt hour

Wholesale energy prices hit the second highest level in at least three years on Monday, adding pressure on suppliers struggling to secure electricity and gas at competitive rates.

Low wind speeds were to blame for pushing wholesale energy prices for the peak period between 5pm and 6pm over £2,000 per megawatt hour, only the second time they have surpassed this level since 2018.

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Categories: Environment

New Delhi's air pollution is so bad, officials are calling for a citywide lockdown

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 10:34am

New Delhi's schools are already closed this week because of air pollution that has been about four times the safe limit.

(Image credit: Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

China urges developed countries to take the lead in cutting out coal

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 9:53am

After dilution of Cop26 wording, China says developing nations cannot make green transition without support

As Cop26 drew to a close over the weekend, Chinese media highlighted Beijing’s contribution over the last fortnight in Glasgow. “The Chinese delegation took a constructive attitude, actively communicated and negotiated with all parties,” said CCTV’s main evening news bulletin on Sunday. “[It] provided China’s wisdom and China’s solution …”

But when China and India chose the last few hours of negotiations to push for the language on coal to be diluted from “phase out” to “phase down”, both countries came under nearly immediate fire from commentators. Cop president Alok Sharma later urged both countries to “explain themselves and what they did to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world”.

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Categories: Environment

Windfarm opponents in Nundle accuse NSW of double standards

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 9:30am

Renewables should be developed ‘where regional communities want them’, ministers have said

Residents of the town of Nundle are calling on the New South Wales government to impose the same standards of community consent for existing renewable development proposals as it has for the state’s new renewable energy zones.

As the first two of five REZs were declared in the central west-Orana and New England regions, the NSW government’s electricity infrastructure roadmap mandated that “renewables are developed where regional communities want them”.

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Categories: Environment

‘It’s like hunting aliens’: inside the town besieged by armadillos

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 2:00am

Thanks to climate change, armadillos, native to southern America, are making their way up north. And there’s no sign of them stopping their relentless march

In the pitch dark, Jason Bullard adroitly shoulders his rifle and levels it at the object. “That looks like one!” he mutters. It turns out to be a fuse box. Another candidate, again aimed at with the gun, reveals itself as a rock.

In this town besieged by armadillos, anything with a passing similarity to the armored nemesis is under suspicion.

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Categories: Environment

Just 124 people own most of England’s deep peat – its largest carbon store

Guardian Environment News - Mon, 2021/11/15 - 12:00am

New report says burning and draining of peatland by grouse moor estates and others adding to climate disaster

Just 124 landowners own the majority of England’s deep peat – its single largest carbon store – new analysis has found.

From the low-lying wetlands of the Fens, to the bogs of the North York Moors, 450,000 hectares (1m acres) of peat soils store 584m tonnes of carbon, according to Natural England, equivalent to the annual emissions from 540 coal-fired power stations in the US.

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Categories: Environment

Ratchets, phase-downs and a fragile agreement: how Cop26 played out

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 11:00pm

Last-minute hitch on coal almost reduced Alok Sharma to tears as Glasgow climate pact made imperfect progress

As weary delegates trudged into the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the Clyde on Saturday, few realised what a mountain they still had to climb. The Cop26 climate talks were long past their official deadline of 6pm on Friday, but there were strong hopes that the big issues had been settled. A deal was tantalisingly close.

The “package” on offer was imperfect – before countries even turned up in Glasgow they were meant to have submitted plans that would cut global carbon output by nearly half by 2030, to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Although most countries submitted plans, they were not strong enough and analysis found they would lead to a disastrous 2.4C of heating.

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Categories: Environment

Australia news live blog: Qld eases Covid border rules; SA outlines changes to restrictions; Scott Morrison says ABC not beyond ‘the scrutiny of the Senate’

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 10:00pm

Changes to South Australia quarantine and border restrictions; fully vaccinated travellers can apply for Qld border passes from 5pm; Victoria records 860 new local Covid cases and five deaths; NSW records 165 cases and one death. Follow live updates

Cop26 failed in a bid to phase out coal, news that had its president Alok Sharma close to tears. But not everyone’s disappointed – nationals senator Matt Canavan has declared it a great win for Australia’s mining industry.

He told the Nine Network:

Given the fact that the agreement did not say that coal needs to be phased down or taken out, it is a big green light for us to build more coalmines.

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Categories: Environment

Empty words, no action: Cop26 has failed First Nations people | Tishiko King

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 7:01pm

Doors were slammed shut on Indigenous people in Glasgow, literally and figuratively. Now it’s time not just to open them, but to tear them down

Cop26 is officially over, and my time in Glasgow almost at an end. I was at the forum to represent my community and to stand up for First Nations people who are leading global movements for climate justice. I was cautiously optimistic about what could be achieved.

Instead, at this supposedly historic event, I saw a conference that relied on dated colonial constructs and ignored Indigenous people. I watched the Australian pavilion used to promote gas and carbon capture and storage, sponsored by corporations such as Santos. Outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists, First Nations people witnessed an aggressive big business approach to climate negotiations, hardly the turning away from and permanent closure of extractive, polluting industries that we are all calling for.

And I saw a lot of talk. Countries said they would be ambitious, but without implementation by all governments at all levels, these are just empty words when we desperately need action.

First Nations people were locked out of discussions, and as a result for me Cop26 has failed, denying us the right and ability to safeguard our futures. Doors were closed to us, both physical and metaphorical, but as the attenders disperse and return to their homes across the world, it is essential these are opened for us.

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Categories: Environment

NSW floods: thousands prepare to evacuate as Lachlan River threatens Forbes

Guardian Environment News - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 4:08pm

SES responds to 320 calls for help after wild weather causes havoc in Sydney, Blue Mountains and Wagga, with major flood warnings in place for NSW central west

Thousands of people in the New South Wales central west have been warned to prepare to evacuate as the Lachlan River threatens to flood after heavy rain lashed the state.

More than 8,000 people in the town of Forbes are in the path of the river, which is rising upstream.

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Categories: Environment

a bitter snack...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 3:38pm

Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.  

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

In drought-plagued New Mexico, farmer places high hopes in infrastructure bill

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2021/11/14 - 2:55pm

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Greg Daviet, a pecan farmer in Las Cruces, N.M., about how the infrastructure plan passed by Congress may affect his business.

Categories: Environment
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