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Environment: Some Gulf of Mexico beaches are still contaminated with a toxic sludge of oil and dispersant

Environment: Some Gulf of Mexico beaches are still contaminated with a toxic sludge of oil and dispersant | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, beaches along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline are far from being clean, says University of South Florida researcher James “Rip” Kirby, who recently documented accumulations of remnant oil with “scary high” concentrations of carcinogenic oil-related compounds.

 

In fact, the weathered tar product from crude oil dispersed with Corexit were found to have PAH concentrations consistently in excess of limits set to identify danger to life and health — IDHL limits, as defined by NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration.
In all, 32 sites were sampled; only three were free of PAH contamination. Samples at 26 of the sites exceeded the IDHL limits. Testing was done at beaches between Waveland, Miss. and Cape San Blas, Fla.

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David Rowing's comment, May 1, 2012 10:20 AM
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Making nature work | The Jakarta Post

Making nature work | The Jakarta Post | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Fueled: Suryasi shows off her biogas stove in her kitchen in Senduro, Lumajang, East Java. Courtesy of UNDP“Smell this,” the man urged, holding ...

 

The biogas project Esti is managing in Lumajang is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is described as a “pro-poor biogas model”.

 

UNDP spokesperson Tomi Soetjipto says, “It’s one thing to help out the poor and the disadvantaged, but it’s another thing to ensure they can stand on their own feet. Being pro-poor means we want to make sure that our assistance is putting people — in this case the villagers in Lumajang — at the center of human development. The biogas project must be designed to put the villagers not only as beneficiaries but also
as drivers.”

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UK: April is the wettest in 100 years

UK: April is the wettest in 100 years | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
This has been the wettest April in the UK for over a century, with some areas seeing three times their usual monthly average, Met Office figures show.

 

The figures up to April 29 show the amount of rain which has fallen is almost double the long term average for April of 69.6mm, in records dating back to 1910.

The Met Office said six of its weather stations had seen more than three times their usual monthly average this April. ...

 

It is in stark contrast to March, which was the fifth driest on record with 36.4mm of rain compared to the average of 95.9mm. It has also been cool, with an average temperature of 6.1C (43F), compared with March's 7.7C (46F). No weather station recorded a temperature of 20C (68F), unlike the previous month when temperatures regularly broke the 20C barrier.

 

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Five Natural Sites Where Humans Threaten Biodiversity (PHOTOS)

Five Natural Sites Where Humans Threaten Biodiversity (PHOTOS) | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Sadly, 35 of 200+ sites designated as natural World Heritage properties are considered in danger and face threats such as pollution, human armed conflict, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization, and unchecked tourism and development.

 

"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s list of World Heritage sites contains over 900 of the most important natural and cultural locations in world. Sadly, 35 of 200+ sites designated as natural World Heritage properties are considered in danger and face threats such as pollution, human armed conflict, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization, and unchecked tourism and development.

Here are five locations where humans have left their mark, perhaps irreversibly damaging some of the world's most biodiverse sites."

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Wind farms affect local weather

Wind farms affect local weather | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Wind farms can affect weather in their immediate locality, raising night-time temperatures on the ground, researchers confirm.

 

The study area, in west-central Texas, saw a major turbine building programme in the middle of the last decade, with the number soaring from 111 in 2003 to 2,325 just six years later.

 

Researchers used data from the Modis instruments on Nasa's Aqua and Terra satellites to measure ground temperatures across the study region and between the beginning and end of the construction boom, defined as as the difference between the average for 2003-5 and that for 2009-11. The entire region saw a rise, but it was more pronounced around wind farms.

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Bovine Methane: Just a Lot of Hot Air?

Bovine Methane: Just a Lot of Hot Air? | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Global warming and greenhouse gases are subjects prominent in the news lately. But humans aren’t the only species implicated in our warming trend.

 

When cattle are fed too much protein, the excess is discarded in the form of urinary nitrogen. This unstable nitrogen in large quantities can vaporize (turn into ammonia gas) and contribute to acid rain. That which remains in the soil under feedlot conditions often seeps into groundwater and waterways, feeding an overgrowth of aquatic plant material (hazardous algae blooms) that deplete the water systems of oxygen and result in dead zones where fish cannot live. Scientist Gary Broderick, with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Madison, Wisconsin, determined that if dairy cattle in the United States alone consumed just one percent less protein, urinary nitrogen would decrease by 60,000 tons per year.

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Climate change, desertification and migration: Connecting the dots | RTCC

Climate change, desertification and migration: Connecting the dots | RTCC | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
How are climate change and desertification linked? And what increasing role are these having on migration patterns, particularly in regions hardest hit like the Sahel in Africa.

 

Climate change, desertification and migration, while all separate issues in their own right, they are also increasingly entwined. While climate change and desertification can often go hand in hand, each one able to exacerbate the other, the role these two factors play in migration is starting to gain increasing prominence in research circles.

 

“When it comes to climate change we speak more on the impact of it on environmental degradation,” said Dina Ionesco, Policy Officer at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). “And then it is the impacts of this environmental degradation on migration. “We speak also on how migration has a climate change impact so we cover the full circle.”

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Britain's hibernating bats avoid deadly fungus killing their US cousins

Britain's hibernating bats avoid deadly fungus killing their US cousins | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Scientists in Britain are monitoring the fatal 'white-nose' syndrome that has been devastating colonies of the flying mammals in the US...

 

It has been a satisfying spring for bat expert Lisa Worledge. Reports sent to her from volunteers who have been monitoring Britain's bats as they emerge from hibernation have given a clean bill of health to the nation's flying mammals. In particular, their observations have found no sign of an epidemic of fungal disease that has wiped out almost seven million bats in the US over the past six years and threatens to leave many American species extinct.

 

Many biologists fear that the infection, known as white-nose syndrome, could spread to Britain, with devastating consequences. "It is a real worry and we keep a very close eye out for any sign of the disease, but so far, happily, we have not seen a sign," said Worledge, partnership officer for the UK Bat Conservation Trust.

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Singapore’s supertrees

Singapore’s supertrees | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

The Supertrees are built by the Gardens by the Bay project to develop Singapore’s Marina Bay. Within the garden the artificial gardens are with their incredible height an amazing sightseeing. In the top of one of the supertrees you will find a bistro and with bridges connecting the trees it is possible to walk at this enormous height. But they don’t serve just as decoration.

 

These vertical gardens are the environmental engines of Singapore. Within the trees there is room for at least 26.000 plants with over 200 species, and it doesn’t end here. Besides a clever use of space, something a fast-growing city should consider, the trees also collect rainwater. Furthermore, the trees have functions like absorbing and dispensing heat, solar water generation and generating energy from solar power to provide the garden with light.

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Gina Stepp's comment, April 27, 2012 11:31 AM
How interesting! I like how their shapes seem to suggest natural trees had the right idea.
David Rowing's comment, April 29, 2012 1:49 AM
You can't beat the real thing - only mimic it!
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Unilever’s Head of Sustainability Talks Progress, Difficulties and Competition | Sustainable Brands

Unilever’s Head of Sustainability Talks Progress, Difficulties and Competition | Sustainable Brands | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Unilever reported on the progress it’s making towards meeting an ambitious commitment to take responsibility for the impacts of sourcing raw materials all the way through to the consumer’s use of its products to cook, clean and wash..

 

"The current focus of the Sustainable Living Plan is on renewable raw materials that we grow or are grown for us. We use about 7.5 million tons of these resources per year. We use an equal quantity of non-renewable materials – things that are mined from the earth. They may be mineral oils or sodium carbonate. One of the most important things we’ve done is to remove the phosphates from all of our materials globally. That’s important because the amount of phosphate rock left in the earth is limited and will probably be gone within 30 years. So this is the first manifestation of a big company tackling resource scarcity, and it’s something we’re all going to have to face up to. We now have a big program through which we look at the vast quantities of materials we dig out of the ground to determine how much is left and whether there are substitutes available."

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Why is ecology important to our society? | Ecological Problems

Why is ecology important to our society? | Ecological Problems | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"What is more important, our industry or our environment? How much are we ready to sacrifice our environment in order to boost our industry? And what's the use of all the money in the world when you have nowhere to spend it?

 

The natural environment is our own environment and we must become aware of that before it's too late. We must think about our children and grandchildren and the heritage we will leave to them.

 

Our moral values are easily forgotten when money is on the table. The current environmental crisis is the crisis of our conscience and our moral and our society must start setting its values straight because time is running out."

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Agricultural Innovations that are Protecting the Environment | Occupy Monsanto

Agricultural Innovations that are Protecting the Environment | Occupy Monsanto | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

For the last 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated around the world to call attention to some of our most pressing environmental and social problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and dwindling natural resources. This year, the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet highlights 15 agricultural innovations that are already working on the ground to address some of those problems.

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Michael Mann: The Danger Of Climate Change Denial | The Energy Collective

Michael Mann: The Danger Of Climate Change Denial | The Energy Collective | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"Using what we call proxy data – information gathered from records in nature, like tree rings, corals, and ice cores – my co-authors and I pieced together the puzzle of climate variability over the past 1,000 years. What we found was that the recent warming, which coincides with the burning of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution, sticks out like the blade of an upturned hockey stick.

 

By itself, this finding didn’t indicate that humans were solely responsible for the warming, but it was a compelling demonstration that something unusual was happening and, by inference, that it was probably related to human activity. Over the last few decades, the evidence, based on work from thousands of studies, has become much more robust and conclusive."

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Solve water problems or forget growth, India told

Solve water problems or forget growth, India told | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
ROME, April 30 - India's economic growth and political stability are at stake in coming years if it does not change its approach to water management.

 

Mihir Shah, who has been asked by India's government to come up with a new water resource strategy, said the sector needed to become more sustainable, efficient and focused on how water is used and how it reaches people.

 

"If this is not attended to, India's growth story will completely go off the rails," Shah said during an interview at the Global Water Summit 2012 conference in Rome.

"There will be water conflicts, conflicts between users, across regions, they will become very serious and a threat to the democratic fabric itself," he said, adding that neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh faced similar challenges.

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David 's comment, May 21, 2012 11:56 PM
thank you for your awesome information
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Koalas under threat in Australia - in pictures

Koalas under threat in Australia - in pictures | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"The Australian government has listed the koala as a threatened species in parts of the country for the first time. It says the species faces numerous threats including from climate change, disease and habitat loss."

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Strawberries And Blueberries Halt Cognitive Decline In Elderly

Strawberries And Blueberries Halt Cognitive Decline In Elderly | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Elderly individuals who eat plenty of strawberries and blueberries are less likely to experience cognitive decline, compared to those who rarely or never eat berries, researchers from Brigh...

 

The authors found that those whose consumption of blueberries and strawberries were high had slower cognitive decline, compared to the other participants. A reduction in cognitive decline was also found among those with a greater consumption of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids.

 

The elderly females whose berry consumption was higher had an average 2.5 year slower cognitive decline, compared to their counterparts whose berry intake was low.


Via Charles Tiayon, Erskine S.Weekes-Libert, David Hulme
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Is Hemp the Perfect Food? | Budget Minded Organics

Is Hemp the Perfect Food? | Budget Minded Organics | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
7 Reasons to Include Hemp in Your Diet along with hemp foods and ways to include them in your daily menu.

 

 

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Fostering Sustainable Behavior - Helping People Go Green

Fostering Sustainable Behavior - Helping People Go Green | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

Sustainable behavior impediments can typically be boiled down to: commitment, affordability, convenience and incentives. Humans, at least the populations Dr. McKenzie-Mohr has studied, tend to default to the lowest common denominator of behavior when it comes to environmentalism. Of course, this isn’t to say there aren’t personalities who go above and beyond for the greater good, but overall, unless regulated to do so, or cajoled by neighbors or friends, most people will resort to the path of least resistance.

 

Knowing this intrinsic behavior trend, Dr. McKenzie-Mohr is able to extrapolate on how to best create systems whereby these same individuals could easily do their part to create a more sustainable, healthy and balanced planet.

 

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We already grow enough food for 10 billion people… and still can’t end hunger | Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy

We already grow enough food for 10 billion people… and still can’t end hunger | Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

A new a study* from McGill University and the University of Minnesota published in the journal Nature compared organic and conventional yields from 66 studies and over 300 trials. Researchers found that on average, conventional systems out-yielded organic farms by 25%—mostly for grains, and depending on conditions.

 

Embracing the current conventional wisdom, the authors argue for a combination of conventional and organic farming to meet “the twin challenge of feeding a growing population, with rising demand for meat and high-calorie diets, while simultaneously minimizing its global environmental impacts.” Unfortunately, neither the study nor the conventional wisdom addresses the real cause of hunger.

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‘Warming hole’ delayed climate change

‘Warming hole’ delayed climate change | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Climate scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have discovered that particulate pollution in the late 20th century created a...

 

“What we’ve shown is that particulate pollution over the eastern United States has delayed the warming that we would expect to see from increasing greenhouse gases,” says lead author Eric Leibensperger, Ph.D. ’11, who completed the work as a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student in applied physics at SEAS.


“For the sake of protecting human health and reducing acid rain, we’ve now cut the emissions that lead to particulate pollution,” he adds, “but these cuts have caused the greenhouse warming in this region to ramp up to match the global trend.”

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Drought or deluge? Brits struggle with errant weather

Drought or deluge? Brits struggle with errant weather | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - The unpredictability of theBritish weather has always made it a favourite topic ofconversation at pubs, corner shops and bus stops across thecountry.But even hardy Brits...

 

"It's been an excellent example of just how variable spring is in the UK," said a spokesman for the Met Office, the national weather forecasting service. A meandering north Atlantic jet stream is largely responsible for the contrast between a sandals-and-shorts March and April's deluge, the Met says. April is shaping up to be one of the wettest of the last century, but that's not enough to make up for an exceptionally dry winter that has left the water table and reservoirs depleted, says the Environment Agency.

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Messing with Mother Nature: 5 Invasion Stories - Mental Floss

Messing with Mother Nature: 5 Invasion Stories - Mental Floss | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Messing with Mother Nature: 5 Invasion Stories...

 

Introduction of non-native species to a new environment is often done completely by accident. Anywhere people travel, something unseen can be traveling along, too. Planes, ships, and other methods of distant travel have taken critters to places they don’t belong, and we only discover the problems they cause much later.

 

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Can Recycling Be Bad for the Environment? - Forbes

Can Recycling Be Bad for the Environment? - Forbes | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Recycling has traditionally been promoted by environmentalists, but it doesn't always deliver environmental benefits.

 

It could be argued that the U.S. environmental movement started with recycling. For old-school environmentalists, recycling is such an integral part of the movement that it’s difficult to separate the two. And in those early days, back in the 1980s, the cause was noble and pure: Why throw away products that could be new again? Why not turn trash into raw materials?

 

At a certain point, though, recycling developed something of a dark side from an environmental perspective. On the surface, it’s still a good idea both to recycle waste and to design products and packaging with the idea of recycling them in a closed loop. Unfortunately, in its modern-day incarnation, recycling has also given the manufacturers of disposable items a way to essentially market overconsumption as environmentalism.

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Cut world population and redistribute resources, expert urges

Cut world population and redistribute resources, expert urges | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it

"The question is: can you go over the top without a disaster, like a worldwide plague or a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? If we go on at the pace we are there's going to be various forms of disaster. Some maybe slow motion disasters like people getting more and more hungry, or catastrophic disasters because the more people you have the greater the chance of some weird virus transferring from animal to human populations, there could be a vast die-off." ...

 

"I have a grim view of what is likely to happen to my children and grandchildren. Politicians can control the financial mess we are in but they don't have control over the systems of the planet that provide us our food, our welfare, those are deteriorating and it will take us a long time to turn it around if we start now. It's hard to think of anything that will pop up and save us. I hope something will but it really will be a miracle."

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Population and consumption 'key'

Population and consumption 'key' | The Glory of the Garden | Scoop.it
Over-consumption in rich countries and rapid population growth in the poorest both need to be tackled to put humanity on a sustainable path, a report says.

 

An expert group convened by the Royal Society spent nearly two years reading evidence and writing their report. Firm recommendations include giving all women access to family planning, moving beyond GDP as the yardstick of economic health and reducing food waste.

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