Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment
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Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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Observers say Mexico is not enforcing a gillnet ban meant to save vaquitas from extinction

Observers say Mexico is not enforcing a gillnet ban meant to save vaquitas from extinction | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Illegal international wildlife trade presents a related threat
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Conservation advocates say some Mexican fishermen are ignoring a ban on gillnets in the northern Gulf of California, driving a porpoise species even closer to extinction.
Biologists say there are less than 100 vaquitas left in the area, and perhaps as few as 50, and despite Mexico’s stated intention to enforce the gillnet ban, Greenpeace observers reported this week that the now-illegal nets are still being widely used.
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Industrial pollution threatens European porpoises

Industrial pollution threatens European porpoises | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
'Almost 20 percent of sexually mature females showed evidence of stillbirth, foetal death or recent abortion ...' Staff Report FRISCO — Even though PCBs were banned in the UK more than 30 years ago...

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ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge

ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3m to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial, the Guardian has learned.

Climate denial – from Republicans in Congress and lobby groups operating at the state level – is seen as a major obstacle to US and global efforts to fight climate change, closing off the possibility of federal and state regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to plan for a future of sea-level rise and extreme weather.
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Come hell or high water: The disaster scenario that is South Florida

Come hell or high water: The disaster scenario that is South Florida | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
But the rainwater pools anyway. Virtually all of South Florida is only a few feet above sea level. “They elevated the runway,” Mr. Gottlieb says, “but all the terminals …” he pauses, exasperated. “Obviously, if we had a major deluge – this is a flood area.”
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The food sector braces itself for crackdown on modern-day slavery

The food sector braces itself for crackdown on modern-day slavery | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Businesses are likely to be under increased pressure to clamp down on forced labour in their supply chains once new rules come into play later this year

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Smart low-carbon Solcer House generates more electricity than it uses

Smart low-carbon Solcer House generates more electricity than it uses | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
A Welsh university claims to have built the UK’s first smart low-carbon energy-positive house. The Solcer House was built by Swansea University’s SPECIFIC project with Cardiff University. It was designed as a prototype with off-the-shelf technologies to show how low-carbon targets could be met.

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Pharmaceuticals in wastewater target of sewage treatment study

Pharmaceuticals in wastewater target of sewage treatment study | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Acadia University scientists will begin testing a bioreactor they hope can strip pharmaceuticals from wastewater before it is released into the environment.

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Study tracks spike in fracking zone health problems

Study tracks spike in fracking zone health problems | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Hydraulic fracturing linked to increases in hospitalization rates in  Marcellus Shale
Staff Report
FRISCO — People living near active fracking sites in northeastern Pennsylvania are much more likely to be hospitalized for heart conditions and neurological illness, according to a new study.
Hospitalizations for skin conditions, cancer, and urologic problems were also associated with the proximity of dwellings to active wells, as well as to the density of wells.
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Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists

Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Seas will continue to warm for centuries even if manmade greenhouse gas emissions were frozen at today’s levels, say US government scientists

Via Hubert MESSMER @Zehub on Twitter
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Small scale hydropower can provide stream of new jobs to rural regions

Small scale hydropower can provide stream of new jobs to rural regions | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Micro-hydro energy schemes offer significant opportunities to regenerate deprived areas, but must overcome start-up costs and declining subsidies

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Editorial: Pipeline plan should keep Great Lakes safer

Editorial: Pipeline plan should keep Great Lakes safer | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette took a prudent step to protect the Great Lakes from an environmental disaster stemming from a break in the underwater pipelines carrying petroleum across the Straits of Mackinac.

The task force the attorney general heads recommends keeping the most dangerous crude oil out of the twin pipelines while allowing them to stay open for other products.

The Enbridge Energy Line 5 pipeline will not be permitted to move the heavy Alberta Tar Sands crude from Canada into the United States because that oil is so heavy it sinks in open water, making it very difficult to clean up.

None of the tar sands oil currently is in the pipelines, Schuette said, but inquiries have been made about using the conduit for that purpose.

Line 5 will continue to deliver other petroleum products crucial to the nation's economy, including light oils and liquified natural gas.
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House GOP tries to slash forest environmental rules

House GOP tries to slash forest environmental rules | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
‘The public will be looking at irreparable habitat damage, polluted watersheds and drinking water and a devastated outdoor economy’
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Anti-environmental Republicans in the House are once again trying to fast-track logging projects under the guise of forest health. They also want to discourage citizen involvement in forest management decisions and try and stop conservation groups from challenging illegal logging projects in court.
The House last week passed H.R. 2647, with the Orwellian name of “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015.”
Here’s a bill summary posted at govtrack.us:
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Judge Shuts Down Attack On Colorado’s Ambitious Clean Energy Law

Judge Shuts Down Attack On Colorado’s Ambitious Clean Energy Law | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Colorado’s ambitious renewable energy standard will remain in place thanks to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Monday shielded the law from a legal attack by a right-wing litigation group.
Writing for a three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch affirmed that the clean energy law does not violate the U.S. Constitution, as the plaintiff Energy and Environment Legal Institute had argued. E&E Legal, formerly called the American Tradition Institute, is a nonprofit that advocates a “free-market approach” to environmentalism. It is the same entity that launched a high-profile lawsuit against climate scientist Michael Mann seeking to view his email communications, an effort which ultimately failed.
The case over Colorado’s renewable energy law was E&E Legal’s second most high-profile case. The group launched the lawsuit back in 2011, arguing that the clean energy standard — which requires utilities to get 20 percent of the electricity they sell to Colorado customers from renewable sources — violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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This Ingredient In Almost Everything You Eat Is Killing Southeast Asia's Forests

This Ingredient In Almost Everything You Eat Is Killing Southeast Asia's Forests | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
It was late evening. The skies were dark and dogs were howling. Into the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center on the island of Borneo rushed a rescue worker cradling a tiny bundle in his arms.

He handed over the precious package to the manager on duty. Inside, with a face as small as a mouse’s, was a 3-month-old orangutan.

Those who were there that day say there are two things they remember most about their first meeting with the baby ape: her intelligent eyes, big and bright; and her fragile left arm -- half of which was conspicuously missing. 

The baby’s hand had been hacked off.
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Yale Environment 360: Algae Could Be Environmentally Friendly Livestock Feed, Research Finds

Yale Environment 360: Algae Could Be Environmentally Friendly Livestock Feed, Research Finds | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it

Algae could replace corn as feed for cattle and other livestock, according to findings published in the Journal of Animal Science. Algae — hardy microorganisms that can grow in a variety of environments and laboratory settings — require less fertilizer, water, land, and herbicides than corn, and thus could prove to be an environmentally friendly alternative for livestock feed, researchers say. The materials used in the new study were remnants of algae grown and processed for other applications, such as cosmetics, cooking oil, and biofuels, and would otherwise have been burned as waste. The researchers found that even these pre-processed leftovers were able to provide the same amount of protein as corn, along with slightly more fat. Cattle in the study readily ate the algae at a variety of concentrations and maintained their body weight as well as corn-fed cattle. Researchers say the algal meal could be priced to compete with corn and could be on the market by 2016.


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Texas' Climate Stubbornness Takes an Increasingly Big Toll

Texas' Climate Stubbornness Takes an Increasingly Big Toll | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
The Texas flooding in May that pulled houses off foundations and swamped city streets provided a glimpse of what scientists have long warned could be its new norm because of global warming. But it did nothing to sway the state's politicians, who have done next to nothing to adjust to a climate that is already bringing more damaging extreme weather.
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Walmart and Costco Need to Move on Animal Welfare

Walmart and Costco Need to Move on Animal Welfare | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
But both Walmart and Costco can expand on this movement to grow their consumer appeal and move the entire food industry toward improved animal welfare.

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Concerns over Bottled Water and NAFTA Swirl during British Columbia Drought - Circle of Blue WaterNews

Concerns over Bottled Water and NAFTA Swirl during British Columbia Drought - Circle of Blue WaterNews | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Citizen petition calls for higher fees on Nestle and other bottled water companies while authorities worry about trade agreement implications.

Via Sylvain Rotillon
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Your instant ramen noodles are a massive threat to the environment

Your instant ramen noodles are a massive threat to the environment | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
For decades, instant ramen noodles have been a culinary staple for cash-poor college students, young working professionals and even prisoners. Yet ramen noodles are a main culprit of deforestation due to the high amount of unsustainable palm oil used to make them. While several large food corporations have committed to eliminating conflict palm oil from their supply chains, two of the world’s biggest instant noodle producers, Nissin Foods Holdings and Toyo Suisan Kaisha (Maruchan), both Japanese firms, have failed to adopt responsible palm oil policies, according to SumOfUs, a non-profit consumer advocacy group.

“Instant noodles are cheap, convenient, and popular, but today they’re mostly a threat to our planet,” said Kaytee Riek, campaigns director at SumOfUs, in an email. Both Nissin and Maruchan have failed to “cut ties with bad actors that clear rain forests, peatlands and abuse the rights of communities and workers in the palm oil sector,” she said.

“As global demand for palm oil has skyrocketed, so has the need for large numbers of laborers on plantations,” according to Humanity United, a non-profit social welfare group, “This has resulted in widespread exploitation of workers and a reliance on forced and child labor.”

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Climate: Shift in Pacific Ocean pattern likely to drive global temperatures to new record highs

‘In the long term, there is robust evidence of unabated global warming ..’
Staff Report
FRISCO — A shift in a decadal-scale cycle of Pacific Ocean temperatures could lead to a spike in global warming the next few years, climate researchers said after tracking a subsurface layer of unusually warm water in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The layer, between 300 and 1,000 feet below the surface, has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized, according to climate researchers from UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who published their finding in the journal Science.
“Given the fact the Pacific Decadal Oscillation seems to be shifting to a warm phase, ocean heating in the Pacific will definitely drive a major surge in global surface warming,” said Veronica Nieves, lead author of the study and a UCLA researcher with the UCLA Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering.
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Lyme Disease Is Spreading, Government Research Finds

Lyme Disease Is Spreading, Government Research Finds | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Lyme disease is gradually spreading from the Northeast and becoming more common farther south and west, government researchers reported Wednesday.

A county-by-county look at the infections shows it's found in four times as many counties now as it was in 1993, a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

It's not clear why - experts say climate change, forest regrowth and the spread of deer might all be factors. What is clear is that many more people than before need to watch out for the ticks that carry the infection, CDC says.

"Over time, the number of counties identified as having high incidence of Lyme disease in the northeastern states increased more than 320 percent: from 43 (1993-1997) to 90 (1998-2002) to 130 (2003-2007) to 182 (2008-2012)," Kiersten Kugeler of the CDC's center in Forth Collins, Colorado, and colleagues write in their report.
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Japan falsified whale hunting data in 1960s, according to study

Japan falsified whale hunting data in 1960s, according to study | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
Finding calls country’s current whaling operations into question, could compromise some conservation studies

Via Kathy Dowsett, Jocelyn Stoller
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Cap and Trade Proven Successful in Northeastern States

Cap and Trade Proven Successful in Northeastern States | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
If you listened to right wing media, you might assume that "Cap and Trade" was a game that ISIL fighters played with severed heads of their enemies. Actually, it's a Republican idea for fighting po...

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Lawmakers Don't Think Companies Should Have To Tell You If You're Eating GMOs

Lawmakers Don't Think Companies Should Have To Tell You If You're Eating GMOs | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON -- Congress took the first step Tuesday to ban states such as Vermont from requiring companies to label whether foods contain genetically modified organisms, advancing a House Agriculture Committee bill that would pre-empt such laws.

The bill, called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, sets up a voluntary program for companies that want to disclose genetically modified ingredients, and requires firms that develop new bioengineered foods to get them approved through what is now a voluntary program run by the Food and Drug Administration. Under that program, the FDA reviews a company’s claims that a product is safe, and either objects or not.

Companies that want to label their products as being GMO-free would also have to submit to a certification process overseen by the Department of Agriculture. One provision added to the bill specifies that non-GMO milk or meat could not come from animals fed genetically engineered feed. But GMOs could be used to produce enzymes used in food production, and genetically engineered plants could be used as a nutrient source for microorganisms used to create food. A summary of the bill is here.
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China's Pollution Quagmire And Its Alberta Tar Sands Connection

China's Pollution Quagmire And Its Alberta Tar Sands Connection | Farming, Forests, Water, Fishing and Environment | Scoop.it
China’s efforts to reduce air pollution could be negated by its unregulated and unmonitored burning of petcoke, a fuel dirtier than coal, an expert on Chinese climate and energy policy said Tuesday in Washington D.C.

Petroleum coke is a cheap byproduct of oil refining that China has increasingly consumed in the last decade, as runaway demand for industrial fuel has driven up coal prices. Most of the 33 million metric tons of petcoke burned in China in 2013 came from Chinese refineries, said Wang Tao, a resident scholar with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, but 7 million tons came from the U.S.
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