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News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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With No End In Sight, California’s Drought Endangers Public Health

With No End In Sight, California’s Drought Endangers Public Health | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Drought conditions exacerbate concentrations of contaminates in water supplies, drive up mosquito populations, and aggravate lung conditions.
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Wyoming’s Leading Paper Argues Coal Is ‘Relatively Good’ For The Environment

Wyoming’s Leading Paper Argues Coal Is ‘Relatively Good’ For The Environment | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"Wyoming coal is inexpensive to mine, mined safely and is relatively good for the environment."

 

Wyoming’s governor, Matt Mead, presides over a state that ranks #1 in coal production, #5 in natural gas production, and #8 in crude oil production, so it’s not surprising he’s a fossil fuel booster.

 

But Mead goes beyond the rah-rah and into the realm of the crazy. At a recent panel discussion in Jackson, the governor disparaged renewable energy, and proudly proclaimed himself a skeptic on climate change. Despite the fact that Wyoming has the 8th best potential for wind energy — enough to provide 113 times the amount of electricity the state’s residents consume — Mead said “renewables aren’t going to get you there.” Then he joked about flying to Jackson through a snowstorm to preface his views on climate change.

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WHO plans for neglected diseases are wrong

WHO plans for neglected diseases are wrong | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Research and development into diseases affecting the world’s poorest people will not benefit from the agency’s policy, warns Mary Moran.

 

After more than a decade of trying to find a way to fund research on diseases that affect the developing world, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a decisive move last month when it announced its first pilot projects. As Nature reported (see Nature 505, 142; 2014), the WHO hopes that these projects will break the stalemate over research on neglected conditions such as kala-azar, a deadly parasitic disease that afflicts hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest people.

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Coal Ash Piles Up As High As 5 Feet In North Carolina River, Endangering Aquatic Life

Coal Ash Piles Up As High As 5 Feet In North Carolina River, Endangering Aquatic Life | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

The Dan River is home to two endangered species.

 

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, a pile of coal ash 75 feet long and as much as 5 feet deep has been discovered at the bottom of the Dan River near the site of the spill in Eden, North Carolina. In addition, coal ash as thick as 5 inches has accumulated on the riverbed across North Carolina’s state line. Kerr Lake, a major reservoir in North Carolina, has also seen coal ash buildup.

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Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean | World Resources Institute

Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean | World Resources Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Join WRI for the launch of Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean, a new guidebook under the Coastal Capital series.
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Drought threatens California wildlife | Al Jazeera America

Drought threatens California wildlife | Al Jazeera America | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
If dry conditions continue, the state’s animal populations could suffer irreversible damage
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As ships spew fumes, regulators move to halt pollution

As ships spew fumes, regulators move to halt pollution | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Twenty-two times a day, roughly 8,000 times a year, a vessel glides through Galveston Bay, bends into the Ship Channel, and docks at one of 150 industrial terminals along the 52-mile waterway, engines running. A single ship can emit more pollution than a refinery, hour for hour. [...] recently they actually burned fuel that was even dirtier. The new rules are projected to bring significant health benefits to coastal residents around the country. The sulfurous, molasses-thick ship fuel, cheap and plentiful, propels immense tankers that bring in crude oil from Mexico and Venezuela, and carry out refined fuel and chemicals. The tiny dots of marine soot land as grit on cars and patio furniture or are inhaled into people's airways. Starting Aug. 1, 2012, ships could no longer burn the dirtiest bunker fuel as they steamed inside an invisible 200-mile border at sea, the North American Emission Control Area. [...] we go and conduct an actual physical exam of the locations of those fuel tanks to ensure that what we are being told seems appropriate. Nationwide it has received 157 "deficiencies," reports from the Coast Guard that ship owners are burning dirty fuel, often stating they couldn't find the right fuel available for purchase. "If they are coming from a place where everyone else was able to get compliant fuel, that will raise eyebrows," said Matt Haber, a senior advisor in the agency's air enforcement division. Exposure to fine particles, even for short periods, can cause premature death, heart attacks and asthma attacks. Joe Keefe, editor for Maritime Professional and MarineNews, has written about the fuel tank switching and examined records from California, where the clean marine diesel is already required. [...] as long as the rules are applied fairly, they are "a small price to pay for cleaner air," said Nathan Wesely, president of the West Gulf Maritime Association. Wrenn of Technical Automation Services wishes ships would use the same continuous monitoring technology energy and chemical plants use.
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After fracking blast, Chevron offers pizza | Al Jazeera America

After fracking blast, Chevron offers pizza | Al Jazeera America | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The company's offer of free pizza to residents near a fracking fire causes mixed reactions
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Toxins leaking from 2nd pipe at NC coal ash dump

Toxins leaking from 2nd pipe at NC coal ash dump | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) â€" North Carolina officials said Tuesday that groundwater containing unsafe levels of arsenic apparently leaching from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is still pouring into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic at 14 times the level considered safe for human contact, according to test results released by the state on Tuesday. In the wake of the initial spill, public health officials issued advisories telling people to avoid contact with the river water and not eat the fish. Heavy metals detected in the river at levels exceeding state and federal safety standards â€" including arsenic, lead and selenium â€" are being successfully filtered out of water drawn from the river at municipal treatment plants, they said. "The deposits vary with the river characteristics, but the short- and long-term physical and chemical impacts from the ash will need to be investigated more thoroughly, especially with regard to mussels and fish associated with the stream bottom and wildlife that feed on benthic invertebrates," said Tom Augspurger, a contaminants specialist at the federal wildlife agency.
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15 Reasons Why Your Food Prices Are About To Start Soaring | Zero Hedge

Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices soar as incomes stand still", but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be "disaster areas", and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.  Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do). 
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Middle class retailers dying a slow death: Don Pittis

Middle class retailers dying a slow death: Don Pittis | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Don Pittis looks at a simple but compelling theory about why middle class retailing is in decline in Canada.
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Scientists call for new stewardship of the deep ocean: Earth's last frontier

Scientists call for new stewardship of the deep ocean: Earth's last frontier | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Feb 19, 2014 -

The deep ocean, the largest domain for life on earth, is also its least explored environment. Humans are now encroaching more vigorously than ever into the ocean's deep regions, exploiting the deep's resources and placing its wealth of vibrant habitats and natural services for the planet at risk.

 

Lisa Levin, a biological oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, believes the vital functions provided by the deep sea-from carbon sequestration to nurturing fish stocks-are key to the health of the planet.

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Why did the orangutan come down from the trees?

Why did the orangutan come down from the trees? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Feb 19, 2014 - Orang-utans come down from the trees and spend more time on the ground than previously realised - but this behaviour may be partly influenced by man, a new study has found.


Dr Mark Harrison, based in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester and Managing Director of the Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) has, along with international colleagues, published results of a seven year study of orang-utans in Borneo in the journal Scientific Reports.

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HEALTH: How the spreading symptoms of climate change can be deadly

HEALTH: How the spreading symptoms of climate change can be deadly | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

The hallmarks of a warming climate, heavier rains, more severe droughts, rising sea levels and longer growing seasons, are spreading a variety of pathogens throughout the world. Malaria is moving to the highlands. Lyme disease is spreading across the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada. Outbreaks of cholera will increase with more unsafe water.

 

Those are three of the diseases that are becoming part of a growth field in medical research amid concerns that tropical diseases are moving north and south and that progress made to improve health conditions in previous decades might be undone

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12-year-old invents Braille printer using Lego set

12-year-old invents Braille printer using Lego set | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The Braigo printer cost its inventor about $350, making it more affordable than other Braille printers that can retail for more than $2,000.
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Waters off B.C. coast awash in plastic particles, says head of new ocean pollution program (with video)

Waters off B.C. coast awash in plastic particles, says head of new ocean pollution program (with video) | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Water-sample tests on the B.C. coast have found up to about 9,200 particles of plastic per cubic metre, the director of a new ocean pollution science program at the Vancouver Aquarium said Tuesday.
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Officials Confirm: Arsenic Could Have Been Flowing Into River Before North Carolina Coal Ash Leak

Officials Confirm: Arsenic Could Have Been Flowing Into River Before North Carolina Coal Ash Leak | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"To say we're not sure how long it had been discharging, that is accurate. We are not sure."

 

More than two weeks after a stormwater pipe burst caused 82,000 tons of coal ash to spill into a North Carolina river that supplies drinking water, state officials have discovered that a second pipe is leaking water with elevated amounts of arsenic — and they’re not sure how long it has been happening.

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Official who raised safety concerns at Hanford nuclear site is fired

Official who raised safety concerns at Hanford nuclear site is fired | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The head of nuclear safety for the cleanup of the former nuclear weapons site at Hanford, Wash., was fired Tuesday after allegations she made over several years that the construction project was ignoring serious safety problems.
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Why Latin America is a fertile ground for green tech industries

Why Latin America is a fertile ground for green tech industries | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Rapid urbanisation has made south and central America an attractive testbed for innovation in sustainable living. Gavin O'Toole reports
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Chemicals leaching into food from packaging raise safety concerns

Chemicals leaching into food from packaging raise safety concerns | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Scientists, in BMJ paper, warn of potential long-term damage of exposure to synthetics, including formaldehyde in drinks bottles
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Refinery blights lives of over 1,200 | Shanghai Daily

Refinery blights lives of over 1,200 | Shanghai Daily | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
More than 1,200 people living close to a realgar mine in central China’s Hunan Province have fallen victims to decades-long arsenic refining, local authorities announced following media reports that arsenic
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Can California Farmers Save Water and the Dying Salton Sea?

Can California Farmers Save Water and the Dying Salton Sea? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Two fast-approaching deadlines threaten to undermine the future success of the Quantification Settlement Agreement, which aimed to wean California off its overdependence on Colorado River water.
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Where's the Real Cost of Climate Change?

Where's the Real Cost of Climate Change? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," Kerry said Sunday from Jakarta.


Extreme and frequent winter snow storms pummeled most of the eastern half of the United States this year, while Britons dealt with historic rains and heavy flooding. The Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service, said there's no definitive link between climate change and recent weather events, but remarked meteorological patterns are "consistent with what is expected from the fundamental physics of a warming world."

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One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Inside the exclusive annual dinner of Kappa Beta Phi.
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Ancient settlements and modern cities follow same rules of development

Ancient settlements and modern cities follow same rules of development | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Feb 19, 2014 - Recently derived equations that describe development patterns in modern urban areas appear to work equally well to describe ancient cities settled thousands of years ago, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

 

"This study suggests that there is a level at which every human society is actually very similar," said Scott Ortman, assistant professor of anthropology at CU-Boulder and lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE. "This awareness helps break down the barriers between the past and present and allows us to view contemporary cities as lying on a continuum of all human settlements in time and place."

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