Arid and Mediterranean Ecosystems Seem More Resistant to Drought than Expected

Yale Environment 360 - 12 hours 45 min ago
Desert and Mediterranean ecosystems may be more resistant to climate change, particularly long-term Plants in a Mediterranean ecosystem in Chile. drought, than previously thought, a new study published in Nature Communications shows. Over the course of a nine-year experiment, researchers subjected plants in four different climatic zones to rainfall conditions predicted under future climate change scenarios. The ecosystems typically received 3.5 to 30.7 inches of precipitation annually, and researchers cut that total by roughly 30-percent to simulate drought conditions. Surprisingly, the researchers found no measurable changes in plant biomass, density, or species composition and richness in any of the four ecosystems over the course of nine generations of plants. The ecosystems already receive highly variable amounts of rainfall and the 30-percent drop likely falls within the plants’ natural "comfort zone," the researchers say, which could explain the unexpected resilience to drought.
Categories: Environment, Health

Protecting the “Last Ocean”

The EnvironmentaList - 18 hours 20 min ago
Delegates from 24 countries and EU to debate massive marine preserve in the Antarctic
Categories: Environment, News Feeds


Costa Salvaje - 23 hours 21 min ago
Categories: Environment

Electricity Access Has Small Effect on Emissions in India, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - October 20, 2014
Expanding electricity to the homes of 650 million people in India over the past 30 years had minimal A third of all households in India lack electricity. direct impact on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change. Although many humanitarian and development organizations have stressed the importance of improving electricity access in low-income countries, it has been unclear how this would impact overall emissions levels. An analysis of trends in India between 1981 and 2011 shows that expanding household electricity access by roughly 45 percent contributed only 3 to 4 percent to the nation's overall growth in carbon dioxide emissions. When the indirect effects of greater electricity access, such as increased wealth and consumerism, are taken into account, household electricity use raised India’s emissions by 11 to 25 percent over that period, the study found.
Categories: Environment, Health

Drive to Mine the Deep Sea Raises Concerns Over Impacts

Yale Environment 360 - October 20, 2014
Armed with new high-tech equipment, mining companies are targeting vast areas of the deep ocean for mineral extraction. But with few regulations in place, critics fear such development could threaten seabed ecosystems that scientists say are only now being fully understood. BY MIKE IVES
Categories: Environment, Health

Monitoring Environmental Destruction From the Sky

The EnvironmentaList - October 20, 2014
SkyTruth uses satellite imagery and data-crunching to track fracking, mountaintop removal, and oil spills around the world
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Pesticide Linked to Bee Deaths Does Not Improve Soybean Crops, EPA Finds

Yale Environment 360 - October 17, 2014
Coating soybean seeds with a class of insecticides that has been implicated in honeybee deaths and partially Soybeans (left) and corn coated with pesticides banned in the European Union does not increase soybean yields compared to using no pesticides at all, according to an extensive review by the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Seed treatment provides at most $6 in benefits per acre (an increase in revenue of less than 2 percent), and most likely no financial benefit at all, the EPA analysis concluded. The insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, are only effective for the first few weeks after planting, studies have found, when soybean pests are not typically active. Neonicotinoid seed treatments could theoretically help fend off sporadic and unpredictable pests, the report notes, but that benefit would be small and unlikely to be noticed outside of the southern U.S.
Categories: Environment, Health

Guest Post: Cathy Coughlin on Girls and STEM

Girl Scouts of America - October 17, 2014
Let’s Change the WorldGirls+STEM=Success!
By Cathy Coughlin Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer, AT&T Inc.
I feel energized, inspired and ready to tackle any challenge this morning. I’m surrounded by hundreds of the most ambitious young women on the planet at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City.
I was a Girl Scout myself growing up in St. Louis, so I know what it’s like to be in these young ladies’ shoes. They’re here to discover new things, make new friends and put their minds together to help solve problems. They’re here to prove how “Girls Change the World,” the theme of this year’s convention.
I’m proud to serve on the Girl Scouts Board of Directors, and I’m here today to help guide a group of more than 100 girls working on projects to help solve problems in education. Specifically, I’m talking with them about how they can use their collective brain power to get more girls to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM fields.
For a variety of reasons, many girls lose interest in STEM when they hit their middle-school years. Is it peer pressure? Is it societal expectations? Are teachers and parents not sending the right signals? Who knows? It could be a number of things, but none of it makes any sense.
According to Girl Scout research, three out of every four girls say they’re interested in STEM. Why, then, isn’t that interest carrying over to their studies? Women hold only one in every four computer and math degrees and even fewer engineering degrees –one in every five! This is a problem.
We only get to the best answers when we have diverse points of view at the table.  And, we need more women to participate in STEM, one of the fastest-growing and best-paying parts of the economy.
AT&T is working with the Girl Scouts to get more girls in STEM, through our signature education initiative, AT&T Aspire.  Our company and our employees have invested our dollars in Girl Scout STEM programming and have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to encourage girls to pursue their interest in STEM.

The Girl Scouts I’m speaking with today are going to take what they’ve learned back home to their families, friends, schools and communities and spread the word that we need more girls in STEM. They’re going to shine a light on this problem like only they can.
They can make a difference and so can you. Talk about this with the girls in your life.
Discuss it with your friends and family. Share this videoacross your networks. Help us make a difference.
Categories: Environment

Protecting Wild Salmon and Wild Rivers

The EnvironmentaList - October 17, 2014
US Forest Service should place a mineral withdrawal on critical Smith River watershed
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

BLOG: Bridging the Gap in Ebola Relief

Operation USA - October 16, 2014

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to spread. As of today (October 16th) the death toll has surpassed 4,500–including 236 health workers. The World Health Organization fears that the true tally is much higher due to under reporting, and projects that the number of cases could grow to 9,000 by next week, and a staggering 1.4 million come January 2015.

As cases have appeared in the United States, the Obama administration and the CDC are scrambling to re-examine policies and procedures for containing and treating the disease. The international community continues to seek solutions for providing aid in the hardest hit areas of West Africa, where needs are becoming increasingly dire. Meanwhile, public fear continues to grow while news reports speculate on the “what ifs” of a global health crisis.

A health worker’s personal protective gear is disinfected with chlorine solution in Sierra Leone (Photo credit: UN.org)

Fortunately, an Ebola epidemic in the developed world is highly unlikely. In countries with the infrastructure and technology to isolate and control the disease, as well as options for treating those who do become infected, there is little possibility that the disease will wreak havoc in the way it has in the developing countries of West Africa. There, under-equipped medical centers are overwhelmed by case loads, and are lacking in the necessary supplies and beds to treat infected persons. Adding an additional layer to the crisis are cultural and political issues, as mistrust of the government and lack of public health education–in addition to ritualistic burial practices–make it difficult to coordinate a controlled response to the growing outbreak.

So, what can we (the international community) do to help? Operation USA has a simple solution: Take action to help combat the further spread of Ebola by providing material aid support to those on the front lines battling the outbreak.

Pallets of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies are prepped at the OpUSA warehouse for shipment to Liberia

A report released earlier this week by the Ministry of Social Health and Welfare in Liberia highlights the pressing need for in-kind donations from foreign partners. An inventory of needs versus supplies shows massive gaps in almost all categories, and calls for immediate support from donors. There is a serious need now more than ever for corporate and individual donors to step up and provide assistance in West Africa. Together, we can help bridge the gap and get supplies where they’re needed most.

Needs include:

  • Body bags (80,000)
  • Chlorine powder (98,000 kg)
  • Plastic buckets (140,000)
  • PPE suits – hooded overall (990,000)
  • Examination gloves (2.4 million boxes)
  • Face masks (1.4 million)
  • Goggles (510,000)
  • Heavy duty plastic gloves (590,000 pairs)
  • Rubber boots (175,000 pairs)
  • Hand sprayers (210,000)
  • Backpack sprayers (4,800)
  • Mattresses (3,200)

We have the power to step up and help stop the further spread of Ebola in West Africa, and to provide much needed supplies to those fighting the disease firsthand. Whether you give $5, $5,000 or in-kind materials, every donation makes a difference!

If you or someone you know works for a corporation who can provide any of these materials new, in bulk, CONTACT US. To make a cash donation in support of Ebola relief shipments, click HERE.

Categories: Environment

Global Boom in Natural Gas Unlikely to Help the Climate, Study Suggests

Yale Environment 360 - October 16, 2014
Increasing global supplies of unconventional natural gas will not help to reduce the overall upward trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions and the planetary warming that comes with it, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. The findings further undercut the notion, long touted by proponents of natural gas, that the fuel — which emits less CO2 than coal when burned — represents an important "bridge" in the transition to low-carbon energy resources. The study, which synthesized models developed by numerous researchers working independently, suggested atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations over the next 35 years would remain virtually unchanged — and in some models, warming would be worsened — by increased natural gas production. This was in part attributed to the fact that the new gas supplies would provide a substitute not only for coal, but also for low-emissions technologies like nuclear power and renewables.
Categories: Environment, Health

Today is a Great Day to Venture Out!

Girl Scouts of America - October 16, 2014
Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. Here, they’ll encounter the kinds of challenges and successes that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, distracted girls, new discoveries and life-changing events. Along the way, they’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from over 50 volunteers.
Venture Out! is for volunteers working with K-5 troops who have little or no experience taking girls outside. Never hiked in their life? Have lots of outdoor skills, but don’t know how to share them with girls? Venture Out! has ideas for both these groups…and everyone in between. Troop leaders of older girls may also find it useful.
The Girl Scout Research Institute recently conducted a national study about girls and the outdoors. The report, More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences explores two basic questions: How and how much are girls getting outside in Girl Scouts? And what difference do these outdoor experiences make? Among key findings of the study are that girls' outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental leadership. Additionally, when girls get outdoors on a monthly basis in Girl Scouts, doing even casual outdoor activities, they are much more likely to agree that they've learned to recognize their strengths, to do something they thought they couldn't do, and to gain skills that will help them do better in school.
Through Venture Out!, volunteers will gain the confidence to take more girls outside and practical knowledge from other volunteers about getting girls outdoors. Venture Out! is available from Girl Scouts University, and made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project.
Categories: Environment

Electric Power Rights of Way: A New Frontier for Conservation

Yale Environment 360 - October 16, 2014
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife. BY RICHARD CONNIFF
Categories: Environment, Health

EPA’s Approval of Toxic Pesticide Ignores Health and Safety Risks

The EnvironmentaList - October 16, 2014
Dow Chemical's new line of GE seeds will drastically increase the use of 2,4-D, a harmful and volatile chemical
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

U.S. Climate Envoy Says All Nations, Rich and Poor, Must Curb Emissions

Yale Environment 360 - October 15, 2014
The negotiating architecture that has governed the decades-long pursuit of an international climate Climate Envoy Todd Stern agreement is outdated, said Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change at the State Department and the nation’s lead climate negotiator. In remarks delivered at Yale University’s Law School on Tuesday, Stern reiterated the U.S. position that all nations — both rich ones and developing ones — must be brought together under one agreement that includes pledges to cut emissions. "This split between developed and developing countries in the climate convention is the singular fault line in these negotiations," Stern said, "and has been from the beginning." Under the recently expired Kyoto protocol, developing countries like China and India were exempted from committing to emissions cuts. Climate talks are scheduled to resume in Lima, Peru later this year, with a goal of achieving a new and fully global treaty at a meeting in Paris in 2015. That pact, Stern argued, ought to require all nations to submit emissions reduction targets, tailored as needed to national interests and abilities.
Categories: Environment, Health

Will National Forests Be Sacrificed to the Biomass Industry?

The EnvironmentaList - October 15, 2014
The US Forest Service wants to sell our forests for fuel in the name of wildfire reduction
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Morgan Serventi

Girl Scouts of America - October 14, 2014
The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to the top ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City this October.
Morgan Serventi: Unleashing the Power of Poo!Age: 18Hometown: Paige, Arizona
Last year, Morgan left her hometown and embarked on a mission trip to Wamba, Kenya. In preparation for her adventure, she did some digging into the conflicts related to resource scarcity and energy use. In rural areas such as this one, firewood is burnt as a source of power. She found that scavenging for this wood is challenging and, a lot of the time, unfruitful for the women put to the task in many communities. On top of that, the practice results in deforestation, health problems, burn accidents, and food and water sanitation issues, and it also becomes the source of family conflict. Women are often beaten when they cannot provide enough wood for their families. Morgan decided this was the perfect challenge to tackle for her Gold Award project.
How Morgan Is Changing the World:
Luckily, Morgan arrived at an awesome, exciting, and slightly smelly solution. She discovered that methane gas can be produced and used as a source of energy using a manure digester. With livestock, the magic ingredient is not hard to find. The manure digester itself costs only ten dollars to build from recyclable materials and produces enough methane to power a stove burner. She found this to be an easy, sustainable, and efficient method of power generation. Morgan presented the design to her hometown of Page, Arizona, as well as the surrounding Navajo reservation before bringing it all the way to Wamba, Kenya.
Thanks to Morgan’s project, rural communities have a new method of generating energy, one that is free of the social costs that come with burning firewood. Her work has improved the everyday lives of countless individuals, especially women, while also contributing to global efforts to preserve the environment and its resources.
Next Steps:
Morgan will study agriculture at the University of Arizona, where she will continue to lead the way in exploring viable alternative energy sources! Girl Scouts will honor Morgan and her fellow National Young Women of Distinction on Sunday, October 19 at our 2014 Girl Scout Convention.
Categories: Environment

Researchers Explain Puzzling Stability of Some Himalayan Glaciers

Yale Environment 360 - October 14, 2014
Unlike nearly all other high-altitude glaciers across the globe, glaciers in the Karakoram mountain chain, part Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas, are not melting and are even expanding in some areas. This so-called “Karakoram anomaly” has puzzled scientists for years, but now a team of researchers has offered an explanation: While rain from warm summer monsoons tends to melt mountain glaciers in other parts of the Himalayas and the nearby Tibetan Plateau, the location and height of mountains in the Karakoram chain, which runs along the borders of China, India, and Pakistan, protect the area from this seasonal precipitation. Instead, the mountain chain receives most of its precipitation in the form of winter snowfall, according to findings published in Nature Geoscience. The study suggests that the Karakoram glaciers are likely to persist until 2100, but not long after, if global warming continues at its current pace.
Categories: Environment, Health

Nature Needs Half

The EnvironmentaList - October 14, 2014
Conservation group promoting an ambitious new proposal for wilderness protection
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Climate Change To Make Many Tropical Marine Species Locally Extinct, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - October 13, 2014
Climate change is likely to drive fish and marine invertebrates toward the poles and cause extinctions


Local extinction hotspots near the tropics, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia. Under the conservative climate change scenario of one degree Celsius of warming by 2100, the 802 species modeled in the study are predicted to move away from their current habitats by as much as 9 miles, or 15 kilometers, every decade — a rate similar to what scientists have observed over the past few decades. Under the worst-case scenario of three degrees of warming, the researchers predict marine species will move toward the poles at a rate of 26 kilometers per decade. Under that scenario, an average of 6.5 species per 0.5 degrees of latitude would become locally extinct closest to the equator. The shifts will be caused by the species' reactions to warming waters, changing ocean chemistry, and ecosystem structure near the tropics, as well as new habitats opening up nearer the poles, researchers say.
Categories: Environment, Health
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