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The fuel of the future

The fuel of the future | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
WHICH source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? (Europe has three-quarters of the world’s total installed capacity...
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Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added)
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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The eight costliest US environmental transgressions of 2014

The eight costliest US environmental transgressions of 2014 | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
US organizations paid $10.2bn in environmental fines, settlements and cleanups in 2014. Here’s a list of the Environmental Protection Agency’s top battles
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Clearing Rainforests Distorts Global Rainfall and Agriculture, Study Says

Clearing Rainforests Distorts Global Rainfall and Agriculture, Study Says | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

Clearing forests not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, it also triggers worldwide shifts in rainfall and temperatures that are just as potent as those caused by current carbon pollution and that pose great risk to future agricultural productivity, researchers report. Deforestation in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa may alter growing conditions in agricultural areas as far away as the U.S. Midwest, Europe, and China, the study in Nature Climate Change finds.


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‘Beneficial reuse’ of coal ash could contaminate drinking water statewide

‘Beneficial reuse’ of coal ash could contaminate drinking water statewide | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
It’s not a good sign when even the dogs won’t drink your tap water. “They sniff it and then drink the bottled water we pour,” said Frank Michna of Caledonia, one of hundreds of southeastern Wisconsin residents whose wells are contaminated by pollutants that may be coming from buried coal ash.

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Stop Destruction of Biologically Diverse Forest

Stop Destruction of Biologically Diverse Forest | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Target: Danny Chiu, Operations Manager of Karridale Limited Goal: Stop the proposed logging of a biologically unique island Woodlark Island near Papua New Guinea is a biologically diverse area with over 40 endemic species found nowhere else on...

Via Garry Rogers, Timo Paasikunnas
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Constant oil spills devastate Russia

Constant oil spills devastate Russia | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
USINSK, Russia — On the bright-yellow tundra outside this oil town near the Arctic Circle, a pitch-black pool of crude stretches toward the horizon. The source: a decommissioned well whose rusty screws ooze with oil, viscous like jam.

This is the face of Russia's oil country, a sprawling, inhospitable zone that experts say represents the world's worst ecological oil catastrophe.
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Wildforests's curator insight, December 26, 9:38 AM

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Now that Russian companies are moving to the Arctic to tap vast but hard-to-get oil and gas riches, scientists voice concerns that Russia's outdated technologies and shoddy safety record make for a potential environmental calamity there.

Gazpromneft, an oil subsidiary of the gas giant Gazprom, is preparing to drill for oil in the Arctic's Pechora Sea, even as environmentalists complain that the drilling platform is outdated and the company is not ready to deal with potential accidents.

Government scientists acknowledge that Russia does not currently have the required technology to develop Arctic fields but say it will be years before the country actually starts drilling.

In 1994, the republic of Komi, where Usinsk lies 40 miles south of the Arctic Circle, became the scene of Russia's largest oil spill when an estimated 100,000 tons splashed from an aging pipeline.

It killed plants and animals, and polluted up to 25 miles of two local rivers, killing thousands of fish. In villages most affected, respiratory diseases rose by some 28 percent in the year following the leak.

Seen from a helicopter, the oil production area is dotted with pitch-black ponds. Fresh leaks are easy to find once you step into the tundra north of Usinsk. Fir trees with drooping gray, dry branches look as though scorched by a wildfire.

 

They are growing in soil polluted by oil.


Bjoern H. Amland contributed to this report from Oslo, Norway.

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Air Pollution A Big Factor In Heart Disease, Experts Warn

Air Pollution A Big Factor In Heart Disease, Experts Warn | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
(Reuters Health) - Air pollution should be one of the avoidable heart risk factors - just like smoking and excess fat - that doctors warn patients to steer clear of, according to a new statement from 20 heart experts. Citing polluti...

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One Traveling Grizzly Showed Not All Carnivores Who Wander Are Lost.

One Traveling Grizzly Showed Not All Carnivores Who Wander Are Lost. | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
In 2014, a 20-year-old grizzly bear named Ethyl made an epic 2,800 mile walkabout through Montana and Idaho. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists knew of her movements because of the GPS collar she wore, which sent weekly data to a satellite. Federal Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Chris Servheen called her traverse into Idaho via the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Mission Mountains, which involved navigating through main streets, landfills, backyards and crossing Interstate 90, "bizarre." While male grizzlies make big movements, females rarely venture far. Yet this was but one of several similar carnivore peregrinations documented in the last fifteen years via GPS-collar technology.
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Roads to ruin: Southeast Asia's most environmentally destructive highways

Roads to ruin: Southeast Asia's most environmentally destructive highways | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

Roads scare the bejeezus out of many scientists because they often open a Pandora's Box of environmental problems -- such as unleashing illegal deforestation, logging, hunting, mining, and land speculation. Far too many roads are forest...


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Europe shows that humans and large predators can share the same landscape

Europe shows that humans and large predators can share the same landscape | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Henrik Andrén

"The recovery of large carnivores in Europe is a great success for nature conservation. At one third of mainland Europe, at least one species of large carnivore is present, according to an article in the scientific magazine Science that researchers from 26 countries have contributed to. It is an excellent example that humans and carnivores can share the same landscape, says main author Guillaume Chapron, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

 

By the early 20th century, large carnivores had been exterminated from most of Europe, with just relict populations persisting. Now we have increasing or stable populations of brown bears, wolves, Eurasian lynx and wolverines, and they do not live in a remote wilderness but in a human-dominated landscape.

 

That is a great difference in comparison to the strategies being pursued in other parts of the world where carnivores are mainly protected in large national parks or wilderness areas, separated from people. If Europe had used that model we would hardly have any carnivores at all because there are not enough large areas of wilderness remaining."


Via Wildforests, Jocelyn Stoller
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Utah Land Defenders Stand Up to Dirty Politics

Utah Land Defenders Stand Up to Dirty Politics | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Lauren Wood grew up in a family of river guides in the Uinta Basin region of Utah. She navigates tributaries of the Colorado River like her urban counterparts navigate subway systems. She learned to ride a horse, and then drive a car, on the Tavaputs Plateau. And she can name most any gorge or gully in the place she calls home.

But this landscape so familiar to her has transformed over the past decade to one in which drill rigs are more common than cattle herds, and methane emissions have degraded the air quality in this wilderness region to rival that of Los Angeles.
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Life extinguishes in lonesome oaks

Life extinguishes in lonesome oaks | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
ife inside old oaks plays out at a snail’s pace. But these tree dwellers now risk paying the ultimate price as a result of the extensive cutting of trees in 16th and 17th centuries. 

Hanne Eik Pilskog, a PhD candidate at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, has spent two years investigating the hollow cavities of old oak trees in the Agder Counties and around the town of Larvik.

She is concerned about the phenomenon that biologists call the extinction debt – the future extinction of a species due to events in the past.

Extinction debt from the 1500s-1600s
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Christian Allié's curator insight, December 20, 1:00 PM

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When the ancient oaks disappear they are not immediately replaced by other old oaks. These are few and far between.

Those who own these oaks or know people who do should stand up and protect the oaks when new roads and buildings are under construction, or when pipes and cables are lain underground. 

The number of trees in Norway is actually growing.   There are three times as many new trees in Norway as there in the interwar period.  So there are constantly new spruces and other types of vegetation growing up between the old oaks. They shade the old giants and hasten their deaths.

 

Norwegians can help by clearing vegetation around the trees.

Dead branches and rotten wood are natural features of old oaks and not a sign that they are diseased. Owners can be reminded of this.

Pruning branches on large old oaks is often unnecessary. Professional tree toppers should be summoned if withered branches are in danger of falling on people or the crown needs to be topped to keep a tree from falling.

Old trees in Sweden

Sweden is one of the countries in Europe where quite a few ancient oaks still survive.

This is because the Swedish kings forbid the chopping of valuable trees.

But many were felled when the ban was lifted in the 1800s, partly as acts of protest against the nobility and the Lutheran Church.

This is why many of the survivors in Sweden are found on the former properties of the nobility and church lands.

 

Researcher Nicklas Jansson at Linköping University has been begun a study to see if he can address the loss of these species. He hung up hollow boxes on old oaks and placed old mouldy wood and other materials inside that simulated trunk hollows.

“This was a success. A total of 70 percent of the original life forms in the trunk hollows made footholds in the boxes. The project has now been running for ten years.”

“It would be fascinating to try the same thing here in Norway,” Eik Pilskog says.

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High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline - United States Geological Survey (press release)

High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline - United States Geological Survey (press release) | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer.

Via TWRI programs, Sylvain Rotillon
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Kingfisher pioneers environmental philosophy

Kingfisher pioneers environmental philosophy | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Home improvement group wants to give back more than it takes from society and the wider ecosystem
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Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you've never heard of

Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you've never heard of | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
In 2011, an ecologist released an alarming study showing that tiny clothing fibers could be the biggest source of plastic in our oceans. The bigger problem? No one wanted to hear it
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Once desert springs, now dry

Once desert springs, now dry | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
s a boy in the late 1940s, Harry Quinn hiked with his family to a desert spring in the Santa Rosa Mountains where cool water flowed into an oasis filled with tadpoles.

Now the spring is dry. The tadpoles and toads are long gone. Four palm trees remain in the dry canyon, two of them dead.
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Christian Allié's curator insight, December 27, 11:19 AM

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Driving off the road, Quinn navigated a rutted path through the desert, brush scraping against the sides of his four-wheel-drive pickup. Parking, he hiked down a hill dotted with cholla and pinyon pines, then he stopped and pointed.

 

“There’s your palms,” he said. “Now you’re at the old oasis.”

His feet crunched in the sand as he walked along the dry stream bed, where he used to catch tadpoles. He paused and remembered one of the photos: “That’s where everybody was laying on the sand.”

Quinn said the place brought back good memories. It all looked similar to the pictures in his scrapbook, including the tip of a boulder — now partially buried in sand — where he once sat and posed for a picture next to his mother. The main difference now is that the water is gone. And for many of the springs that Quinn once enjoyed visiting, that has become the norm.

 

Environment Reporter Ian James can be reached by email at ian.james@desertsun.com and on Twitter: @TDSIanJames.

 

Desert springs drying up


Researchers studied 216 sites in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument where springs and waterholes have historically existed. They determined locations where water used to be found using information from several sources, including past surveys, interviews with people who lived in the area decades ago, aerial images showing locations with vegetation, and the current locations of palm oases.

 

The study involved visits to 71 sites in the San Jacinto Mountains, of which 19 sites — or 27 percent of the total — were found to be dry. In the Santa Rosa Mountains, 145 sites were surveyed and 83 of those sites — or 57 percent — were found to be dry.

 

Cameron Barrows of the UC Riverside Center for Conservation Biology, who led the study, said it’s likely that climate change is playing a role and that the trend appears linked to long-term declines in snowpack.

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Honeybees: Keep on Survivin' - Modern Farmer

Honeybees: Keep on Survivin' - Modern Farmer | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

"It’s no secret that America’s bees are in trouble: Since Colony Collapse Disorder hit the U.S. in 2006, the country’s beekeepers have reported an average annual hive loss of 30 percent. A groundswell of hobby beekeepers has emerged, wanting to do their part to save honeybees, and commercial beekeepers are racing to come up with solutions. It’s not just a critical issue for bees, but for our entire agricultural system: One-third of our food depends on bees and the industry is responsible for $15 billion in increased crop value annually.

But some progress is being made. A group of honeybee breeders across the nation are looking to hardy, resilient bees they call “survivor stock” as one important step toward a solution. A host of factors likely play a role in CCD, including habitat loss, overuse of agricultural chemicals and an array of pests and diseases. Similarly, a variety of characteristics come together under the survivor stock definition."

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Brazil's 'chainsaw queen' appointed new agriculture minister

Brazil's 'chainsaw queen' appointed new agriculture minister | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has stirred up the wrath of environmentalists by appointing a controversial advocate of agribusiness and weaker forest conservation as her new agriculture minister.

Kátia Abreu, who has been nicknamed the “chainsaw queen” by her enemies, is included in a new cabinet that rewards political allies who supported Rousseff in her recent narrow re-election victory.

Abreu is a leading figure in the “ruralista” lobby, which prompted the government to weaken Brazil’s forest code. In congressional debates and in her feisty newspaper column, she has called for more roads through the Amazon, congressional control over demarcation of indigenous reserves, more efficient monocultures, and the approval of genetically modified “terminator seeds”.
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HEMP: Something All Homes Should Be Made Of – Scotland Community Begins Sustainable Housing Project

HEMP: Something All Homes Should Be Made Of – Scotland Community Begins Sustainable Housing Project | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Many people are becoming aware of ways to live that are more harmonious with the planet.  It seems that we are transitioning to a very ancient understanding of how to operate here on Earth, with a very advanced ‘know how’ of technologies and methods to begin making that transition. New ways of living are coming […]

Via Marianne PokeBunny Lenaerts
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Nitrate Removal from Wastewater through Biological Denitrification with OGA 24 in a Batch Reactor

Nitrate Removal from Wastewater through Biological Denitrification with OGA 24 in a Batch Reactor | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Nitrates pollution of waters is a worldwide problem and its remediation is a big challenge from the technical and the scientific point of view. One of the most used and promising cleaning techniques is the biological treatment of wastewaters operated by denitrifying bacteria. In this paper we begin a thorough study of denitrifying performances of the bacterium Azospira sp. OGA 24, recently isolated from the highly polluted Sarno river in the south of Italy. Here, the kinetics of nitrates consu

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125M ha of degraded lands identified for forest-friendly agricultural expansion

125M ha of degraded lands identified for forest-friendly agricultural expansion | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
A team of researchers has identified 125 million hectares (309 million acres) of land suitable for agricultural expansion that won't come at the expense of tropical forests. The study argues that shifting agricultural expansion away from forests to these 'degraded lands' would avoid 13 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would be released were they converted for plantations, pasture, and croplands.

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Les majestueuses images d'arbres millénaires

Les majestueuses images d'arbres millénaires | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
ART - Beth Moon est une passionnée de nature. Mais ce qui la fascine par dessus tout, ce sont les baobabs, ces arbres qui poussent dans la savane et qui peuvent vivre plusieurs centaines voire milliers d'années.

Via sesheta, Christian Allié
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Eben Lenderking's curator insight, December 23, 5:24 AM

Tenemos dos de estos arboles a Hacienda San Antonio

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Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas

The company hired by Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 to drill on petroleum leases in the Arctic Ocean pleaded guilty Friday to eight felony environmental and maritime crimes.

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Is there something fishy about the health advice on farmed salmon?

Is there something fishy about the health advice on farmed salmon? | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
SMOKED salmon is the easy part of Christmas. Throw it on brown bread, with lemon and black pepper, and the innocents will think it’s posh and that you’ve spent a lot. 

But you can get 100g of Everyday Value smoked salmon in Tesco — “responsibly sourced from the waters around Scotland, Norway or Ireland” — for €3.59.

But, today, as many of us prepare for the big Christmas supermarket shop, the Friends of the Irish Environment have ramped up their boycott of farmed salmon, strengthened by the news that the international Slow Food Movement — which counts among its supporters Bridgestone’s Sally McKenna and that icon of Irish sustainable food, Darina Allen — has condemned intensive open-pen fish farms.

“Open-net pen aquaculture is not a solution to the problem of overfishing,” says Slow Food.

“It damages natural ecosystems on a local and a global level, including wild stocks, habitats and water quality.”
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25 homes evacuate an unstoppable gas leak in another Ohio fracking 'incident'

25 homes evacuate an unstoppable gas leak in another Ohio fracking 'incident' | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Another day, another toxic spill thanks to fracking :

About 25 families in eastern Ohio have been unable to live in their houses for the past three days because ...

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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Giant US corporates set ambitious agriculture goals for water, soil and land use

Giant US corporates set ambitious agriculture goals for water, soil and land use | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
A group of giant agri players, including Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, has set out plans that will inform its drive towards more sustainable agriculture in the US in the coming years.

The 66 grower organisations, agribusinesses, food, beverage and retail firms that make up the Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture have committed to achieve a series of goals designed to find sustainable practices for corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, rice, potatoes and other crops.
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