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Finding Renewable Energy Sources Promotes a Greener Environment | 2GreenEnergy

Finding Renewable Energy Sources Promotes a Greener Environment | 2GreenEnergy | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Over a one-year period the typical fossil-fueled coal plant generates:

 

193,000 tons of sludge and 125,000 tons of ash from its smokestack scrubber

10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide

10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide

720 tons of carbon monoxide

500 tons of small particles

220 tons of hydrocarbons

225 pounds of arsenic

170 pounds of mercury

114 pounds of lead

4 pounds of cadmium and other toxic heavy metals

 

The environmental impact of the carbon dioxide generated from a coal powered plant – 3.7 million tons – is equal to cutting down 100 million trees. By comparison, renewable energy has a minimal impact on wildlife.

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Seabed test mimics carbon release

Seabed test mimics carbon release | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Scientists begin a month-long experiment in Scottish waters to study the impact of a possible leak from an undersea carbon dioxide storage site.

 

Working in Ardmucknish Bay near Oban, researchers will allow CO2 to bubble through sediments from a buried pipe and look for impacts on marine life. Capturing CO2 from power stations and burying it under the seabed is viewed as an important global warming fix.

 

A number of countries have plants in operation, though the UK does not. This is believed to be the first time that an impact of CO2 escape on seabed ecosystems has been investigated.

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Climate Change Consequences - Often Unexpected

Climate Change Consequences - Often Unexpected | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

... "Urban stormwater and sewage overflow water contains human pathogens including viruses, protozoans, and pathogenic bacteria that can cause adverse health effects if ingested.   The Great Lakes provide drinking water for an estimated 40 million people and there are more than 500 recreational beaches along lake shores (Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, 2012).  Waterborne disease outbreaks result when water supplies are contaminated with pathogens that infect humans.

 

It is well known that extreme precipitation events that cause CSO (combined sewer overflows) in the Great Lakes Region can lead to waterborne disease outbreaks, as seen in the 1993 outbreak of intestinal illness in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which affected an estimated 403,000 people (Curriero et al., 2001).   Observed and projected climate changes due to global warming infer that more frequent extreme precipitation events are on the horizon for this region, thus potentially leading to a higher incidence of waterborne disease outbreaks if mitigation measures are not taken to improve existing CSS (combined sewer systems) infrastructure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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World living beyond its resources, summit off-track

World living beyond its resources, summit off-track | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Biodiversity has decreased by an average of 28 percent globally since 1970 and the world would have to be 50 percent bigger to have enough land and forests to provide for current levels of consumption and carbon emissions, conservation group WWF said on Tuesday.

 

Unless the world addresses the problem, by 2030 even two planet Earths would not be enough to sustain human activity, WWF said, launching its "Living Planet Report 2012", a biennial audit of the world's environment and biodiversity - the number of plant and animal species.

 

Yet governments are not on track to reach an agreement at next month's sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro, WWF International's director general Jim Leape said.

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INDONESIA: Forests remain a source of conflict

INDONESIA: Forests remain a source of conflict | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The world’s largest producer of teak, an Indonesian state-owned company on the island of Java, has again been awarded sustainable forest management (SFM) certification. But the company has a long and sometimes contentious relationship with forest communities in the area, and the forest rights of indigenous communities remain a potential cause of conflict.

 

“Land rights have long been a source of violence on Java,” Rhett Butler, a leading environmentalist and creator of a leading environmental news website told IRIN. Perhutani (Indonesian state forestry company) exploits 2.4 million hectares of forests in Java - 7 percent of the island area - with earnings of around US$400 million in 2011.

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Nature's 'water filters' threatened by development, urbanization|Nation|chinadaily.com.cn

Nature's 'water filters' threatened by development, urbanization|Nation|chinadaily.com.cn | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Although the Ergun Wetland Protection Zone attracts more than 1 million domestic and foreign tourists every year, local forestry authorities struggle to balance operating costs for the zone, one of the largest in Asia.

 

Lack of a national wetland protection law, however, has become the major barrier for wetlandpreservation across the country, experts said.

 

"China does not have a national law exclusively for wetland protection. Therefore, localgovernments have no rights to punish wetland violators, which speeds up the urbanization ofwetlands," said Niu Zhenguo, a professor of the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications underthe Chinese Academy of Sciences.

 

He added it is common for factories and villas to be built on wetlands or for dams and bridgesto choke off the water.



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Nature and culture loss 'linked'

Nature and culture loss 'linked' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A study by US researchers highlights a link between the loss of biologically rich areas and a decline in linguistic and cultural diversity.

 

The decline of linguistic and cultural diversity is linked to the loss of biodiversity, a study has suggested. The authors said that 70% of the world's languages were found within the planet's biodiversity hotspots.

 

Data showed that as these important environmental areas were degraded over time, cultures and languages in the area were also being lost. The results of the study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Conservationist's catch-22: What to do when one endangered species starts eating another

Conservationist's catch-22: What to do when one endangered species starts eating another | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

It is the conservationist’s catch-22: what to do when one endangered species starts eating another. That is the problem facing environmentalists whose research shows that jaguars, themselves at risk of extinction, are increasingly preying on endangered turtle species.

 

Experts said that the predation of adult turtles by the big cats in a Costa Rican national park “has now reached a magnitude never before recorded”.

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Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity

Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Elephants and rhinoceroses are essential to keeping biodiversity levels high, new research suggests. In areas where these large seed-dispersing animals have disappeared, like the tropical forest of South-East Asia, researchers found that biodiversity dropped off. Other herbivores like the small pig-looking tapir can't replace these large grazers.

 

"Megaherbivores act as the 'gardeners' of humid tropical forests: They are vital to forest regeneration and maintain its structure and biodiversity," study researcher Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, of the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, said in a statement. The research was detailed in the March 2012 issue of the journal Biotropica.

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Poachers prevail

Poachers prevail | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Keep your chin up, old boy LAST year 438 rhinos, nearly all of them of the white (meaning wide-lipped) species, were known to have been illegally killed in South Africa, their horns often hacked off while...

 

“It is not an exaggeration to say that every rhino on the planet is now in mortal danger,” wrote the late Lawrence Anthony, a South African conservationist. “Unless something fundamental changes quickly, every last one in the world will eventually have been killed.”


Long prized in South-East Asia for its supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac vim, rhino horn is now being peddled as a cure for cancer too. With growing wealth in China and Vietnam unaccompanied by growing wisdom, demand seems insatiable. The horn, which is merely agglutinated hair, the same stuff as finger nails, has no pharmacological value. Yet its street price has soared to over $60,000 a kilo, more than for the same weight of cocaine or gold—a proven aphrodisiac.

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UK's only carbon-neutral chocolate arrives by sailing ship

UK's only carbon-neutral chocolate arrives by sailing ship | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Which ticks more ethical boxes? Fairtrade organic olive oil from the Palestinian territories? Or organic chocolate grown by a co-operative of Grenadian peasant farmers on a solar-powered farm and transported to Europe from the Caribbean in a sailing ship with no engines?

 

The olive oil sells for £8.50 for a 500ml bottle, but the first 24,000 bars of "handpressed, single-estate, vanilla-free, vintage rootstock, grown-with-a-windward aspect" chocolate in the world arrives in Portsmouth next week – winds permitting – on the Tres Hombres, a 32-tonne square-rigged wooden sailing cargo ship.

 

The environmental impact of growing, processing and transporting the chocolate is said to be minimal, but the retail price for the food billed to taste of fruit, tobacco and grass is eye-watering. A 100g bar of Gru Grococo will sell at an introductory price of £12.95, but if bought while still at sea will cost £60 for six bars – the equivalent of around £1.50 a mouthful.

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What is global dimming?

What is global dimming? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Measurements from the 1960s to the early 1990s, backed up by a wide range of data and a number of independent studies, showed there were substantial declines in the amount of the sun's energy reaching the Earth's surface. This reduction is known as "global dimming".

 

The observed "dimming" has strong regional differences across the globe. While the southern hemisphere saw modest dimming in the period 1961–90 (which has continued to date), the northern hemisphere saw much more significant declines (reductions of 4–8%). Since then some parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, have seen partial recovery (known as "brightening"), while other regions (most notably China and India) have seen further although regionally mixed declines.

 

Global dimming is not thought to be due to changes in the sun's luminosity, as these have been too small to explain the magnitude of dimming observed. Instead, air pollution from human activity is thought to be the major contributor.

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MIT Study Shows That Sustainability is Profitable | Totally Green

MIT Study Shows That Sustainability is Profitable | Totally Green | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Outside pressure leads to profitability. “Harvesters,” or companies defined as those clearly profiting from sustainability-related activities, did not necessarily make such changes out of altruistic motives. The top three factors that led to a shift in these companies business models, according to the survey, were customer preferences, resource scarcity and legislative or political pressure.

 

Are the days of making the excuse that sustainability is a luxury or only good for public relations reasons over? According to MIT’s researchers, the proof is in the profits.

 

Read the entire report, learn the ties between sustainability and profitability and peruse through the data visualization tools here:


http://sloanreview.mit.edu/feature/sustainability-interactive-tool/

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Patterns In Nature — Dynamic Connections | Patterns In Nature Blog

Patterns In Nature — Dynamic Connections | Patterns In Nature Blog | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Garry Peterson, in his paper on the integration of human and ecological dynamics, talks about the connection dynamics of Salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin. He estimates that, in the 18th century, there were some 10 to 16 million Salmon returning annually to the basin. Today, the population is below one million and a quarter of the species have become extinct.

 

The reason for this decline is a human population that has severely altered Nature’s dynamic connections with Salmon by severely reducing the Salmon’s genetic database through over-fishing in the ocean, by constructing dams that interfere with the Salmon’s connection to it’s places of birth , and by radically altering land use along the river.

 

The impact of the changing human connection with the Salmon population has been devastating. There is a lack of awareness by we humans of how connecting and changing patterns in Nature might destroy a species.

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Climate change policy should aim to manage risk

Climate change policy should aim to manage risk | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"The reality is that long-range future energy, climate, economic and other carbon-related environmental conditions are and will remain significantly uncertain, highly variable and largely unpredictable. Scientists and mathematicians know that the systems involved in the various dimensions of climate change policy are in fact extremely complex and often chaotic, fraught with considerable, irreducible uncertainty.

 

But contrary to the so-called skeptics, this uncertainty does not licence inaction. Most human decisions are made in conditions of imperfect uncertain information. We have to act even though we don’t know everything. ...


The key discussion, then, is not about whether climate change is occurring, but how great we think the risk is, and how big the insurance premium is we are willing to pay to mitigate the potential damage."

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'Last Call at the Oasis': Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water | Water | AlterNet

'Last Call at the Oasis': Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water | Water | AlterNet | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A new film provides a much-needed wake-up call for Americans: Our false sense of water abundance may be our great undoing.

 

The film shows hotspots like the California’s Central Valley, where 7 million acres of irrigated agriculture have turned near desert into the source of one-quarter of the nation's food -- at a steep environmental price.

 

California is often warned it will be the next Australia, where a decade of drought has devastated the agricultural sector. At the peak of Australia's drought, the film tell us, one farmer committed suicide every four days. We meet families who are struggling to save their farms, faced with having to slaughter all of their animals. The scenes of heartbreak in Australia are one of the few times in the film the narrative ventures outside the U.S. Mostly the storyline is focused on America's own evolving plight.

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Flower power keeps Kenya's Lake Naivasha blossoming – video

Flower power keeps Kenya's Lake Naivasha blossoming – video | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Kenya exports millions of fresh flowers each year, many of them grown in the Lake Naivasha area. In the past, firms have been accused of plundering the lake's natural resources and damaging its ecosystem, but a new WWF scheme is tackling the situation by rewarding local farmers for adopting conservation practices

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Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high

Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Our ever-growing demand for resources is putting huge pressure on the planet’s biodiversity and threatening our future security and well-being, according to the Living Planet Report 2012, released today by WWF.

 

Key findings:

The global Living Planet Index has declined by up to 30 per cent since 1970.

 

It is currently taking 1.5 years for the Earth to absorb the CO2 produced and regenerate the renewable resources that people use within one year.

 

2.7 Billion people live in areas that experience severe water shortages for at least one month of the year.

 

The per capita Ecological Footprint of a high income country such as the USA is currently six times greater than that of a low income country such as Indonesia.

 

The UK has risen five places from 31st to 27th place  in the report’s global consumption ranking, which compares the Ecological Footprint per person, per country.

 

The top 10 countries with the biggest Ecological Footprint per person are: Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, United States of America, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Ireland

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Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy

Airborne windmills produce fifty percent more energy | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Makani Power has created a tethered wind turbine that can generate power by flying aloft in large circles, much the way a kite does.

 

The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine flies at between 800 and 1,950 feet above ground level, meaning that it stays well below normal commercial and civilian aviation. At the same time, it flies at an altitude above that of most birds, meaning that any potential harm to flying creatures is minimized, it says. Meanwhile, at these heights the wind is stronger and more consistent than that which terrestrial wind farms encounter, and 90 percent of the material used in conventional wind turbines can be eliminated.

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Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate

Varied Views on Extreme Weather in a Warming Climate | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
A climate scientist critiques a colleagues' conclusions.

 

Through decades of work, James E. Hansen of NASA has earned his plaudits as a climate scientist. But his intensifying personal push for aggressive cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases has come with a framing of climate science that is being criticized by some respected researchers for stepping beyond what peer-reviewed studies have concluded.

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UN adopts 'land grab' guidelines

UN adopts 'land grab' guidelines | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
The United Nations adopts global guidelines to protect local communities when rich countries buy up land in developing nations.

 

"Problems can arise because in many parts of Africa local farmers, herders and gatherers do not have any formal documents for the land they use, which is often owned by the state.

 

Authorities often argue that big international deals bring investment and new technology to a region, benefiting local people. But this is not always the reality and human rights organisations have highlighted cases where tens of thousands of people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands to make way for foreign investors."

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Weatherwatch: Australia's 'big drought' officially over after a decade

Weatherwatch: Australia's 'big drought' officially over after a decade | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Big Dry caused bush fires and dust storms and drove many farmers out of business, despite some £2.9bn spent on special assistance. Many Australian states have introduced new "drought-proofing" measures for the future. These include enhancing irrigation systems, recycling greywater from washing and bathing, subsidising domestic rainwater storage tanks, and building giant desalination plants

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Environment Issues: Why do El Nino and La Nina trigger weather chaos?

Environment Issues: Why do El Nino and La Nina trigger weather chaos? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

From record floods to crippling droughts and wildfires, a natural swing in Pacific Ocean temperatures can trigger climate chaos around the globe. The El Nino ocean-weather pattern is linked to droughts in Australia and floods in parts of South America, while its sibling La Nina causes the opposite, with the two phenomena occurring at irregular intervals.

 

A powerful La Nina triggered record floods in eastern Australia in 2011 and has been blamed for the withering drought in Texas and severe dry spells in South America, hitting corn and soy crops. Forecasters say an El Nino might develop later in the year.

 

Following are some questions and answers on El Nino and La Nina and their billion-dollar impacts on economies.

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Climate Forecasting: A Break in the Clouds: Scientific American

Climate Forecasting: A Break in the Clouds: Scientific American | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Researchers are beginning to turn a corner in accurately simulating the large role of clouds and fine particles in setting Earth's temperature...

 

"In recent months, climate scientists have started rolling out initial results from the newest generation of models, which represent atmospheric chemistry and microphysics in much more sophisticated ways than previous incarnations. These models allow clouds and aerosols to evolve as they interact with each other and respond to factors such as temperature, relative humidity and air currents. And early results suggest that such processes have a much greater impact on regional climate than scientists had realized. Recent studies have shed light on the roles that clouds and aerosols might have in triggering major African droughts, altering Arctic climate and weakening the monsoon in southern Asia."

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Global land deal guidelines could pave way to world without hunger

Global land deal guidelines could pave way to world without hunger | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
José Graziano da Silva: New directives on access rights to land, fisheries and forests show constructive collaboration on food security is possible...

 

Weak governance of tenure hinders economic growth and the sustainable use of the environment. Small-scale farmers and traditional communities will not invest in improving their land, fisheries and forests if they could be taken away at any minute due to lack of recognition of customary rights, weak registration practices or corruption. In some countries, women, for example, despite doing all the farming, are denied legal recognition and protection of rights to their land plots.

 

The voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security set foundations that are indispensable to resolve these issues. Responsible governance of tenure enables sustainable social, economic and environmental development that can help eradicate food insecurity and poverty, and encourages responsible investment.

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