Tag Archives | Environment

Big Oil Knew. Big Oil Lied.

A new report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, chronicles how Exxon and other major fossil fuel companies did not take action to disclose or reduce climate risks in the ensuing years, but instead actively misled the public and policymakers about them. (Image: Union of Concerned Scientists)

A new report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, chronicles how Exxon and other major fossil fuel companies did not take action to disclose or reduce climate risks in the ensuing years, but instead actively misled the public and policymakers about them. (Image: Union of Concerned Scientists)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally’s articles here.

They knew. They lied. And the planet and its people are now paying the ultimate price.

It’s no secret that the fossil fuel industry—the set of companies and corporate interests which profit most from the burning of coal, oil, and gas—have been the largest purveyors and funders of climate change denialism in the world.

Now, a new set of documents and a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) answers the age-old question always asked when it comes to crimes of corruption, cover-up, and moral defiance: What did they know and when did they know it?Read the rest

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E-waste: What we throw away doesn’t go away

Curtis Palmer (CC BY 2.0)

Curtis Palmer (CC BY 2.0)

Griffith University via EurekAlert:

In the life of almost every household appliance, there comes that moment of out with the old and in with the new.

However, while electrical and electronic equipment have never been more efficient, economical or in demand, consumers’ desire to own the best and the latest is contributing to an environmental issue of increasing seriousness and concern.

“E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in developing, emerging and developed regions and it covers all electrical and electronic equipment and parts discarded by consumers,” says Dr Sunil Herat, Associate Editor of the journal Waste Management & Researchand a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

“According to figures published in the Global E-waste Monitor 2014 and compiled by the United Nations University, last year an estimated 41.8 million metric tonnes of e-waste was discarded throughout the world.

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The oceans can’t take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted

PAk DocK (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PAk DocK (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Alfred Wegener Institute via ScienceDaily:

Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn’t happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That’s the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before.

Since the pre-industrial era, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has risen from 278 to 400 ppm (parts per million) — a 40 percent increase that has produced massive changes in the oceans. “To date, the oceans have essentially been the planet’s refrigerator and carbon dioxide storage locker.

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Can Pollution Help Trees Fight Infection?

Pollution may help trees fight infection. Credit: Frederic E. Pitre

Pollution may help trees fight infection.
Credit: Frederic E. Pitre

Via ScienceDaily:

Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. “It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion,” says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery.

Unexpectedly, whilst studying the presence of genetic information (RNA) from fungi and bacteria in the trees, the researchers found evidence of a very large amount of RNA from a very common plant pest called the two-spotted spidermite.

In fact, 99% of spidermite RNA was in higher abundance in trees without contamination, suggesting that the polluted plant’s defence mechanisms, used to protect itself against chemical contamination, improves its resistance to a biological invader.

“This higher spidermite gene expression (RNA) in non-contaminated trees suggests that tolerating contamination might ‘prime’ the trees’ defence machinery, allowing them to defend themselves better against pests, such as spidermites,” says Pitre.

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Shoe Made From Recycled Ocean Trash

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I’m currently posting this from the beach, and it makes my blood boil when people litter. So, it seemed fitting.

Laura Feinstein via GOOD:

As a rule I’m skeptical of big brands “going green,” but it seems adidas might just be on to something. Recently the sporty retail giant teamed up with Parley for the Oceans—an idealistic group of “creators, thinkers and leaders” attempting to re-purpose the ocean’s overwhelming amount of trash into reusable material—for a mystery project. Monday at the United Nations the brand unveiled their collaboration: the world’s first ever shoe upper made solely from harvested ocean plastic and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The nets were retrieved after a 110-day expedition by Parley partner organization Sea Shepherd, where they tracked an illegal poaching vessel off the coast of West Africa.

The prototype is just the first in a yet-to-be-released line of consumer-ready ocean-plastic products the brand will launch later this year.

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The Force Which Shapes The World

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Linda and Morris Tannehill via Not Being Governed:

But a discussion of how government could be dismantled and how free men could then build a laissez-faire society out of the pieces still doesn’t answer the question, “How do we get there?” Politicians are politicians because they enjoy wielding power over others and being honored for their “high positions.” Power and plaudits are the politician’s life, and a true politician will fight to the death (your death) if he thinks it will help him hold on to them. Even the gray, faceless bureaucrats cling to their little bits of power with the desperate tenacity of a multitude of leaches, each squirming and fighting to hold and increase his area of domination. How can we successfully oppose this vast, cancerous power structure? Where can we find a force strong enough to attack, undermine, and finally destroy its power?

Some people, gazing up at the fearsome might of the American Leviathan, have decided that our only hope lies in an eventual armed revolution.

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First robot wedding: The bride wore white and the groom wore out his batteries

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Lydia Willgress via Daily Mail Online:

Two robots have tied the knot in Japan in what is thought to be the first wedding of its kind in the world.

Frois, the groom, and bride Yukirin walked the aisle, wore traditional outfits and even carried out a ‘wedding kiss’ at the event in Tokyo on Saturday.

Special invitations were made, featuring a picture of the two robots inset in a heart, and the 100-strong congregation included a range of smaller robotic models.

After the ceremony the couple even managed to ‘cut a cake’ before an automated orchestra performed a song for the equivalent of their first dance.

The event was organised by Maywa Denki, which produces electronic accessories and designed the groom Frois.

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The real Alien vs. Predator is occurring right now in Antarctic waters

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Dr. M via Deep Sea News:

In the freezing and dark waters of the Antarctic, two marine species are pitted against each other in a battle of survival. Each of the players in the evolutionary game is trying to avoid a permanent residency in the other’s stomach. One of the competitors, you may not be surprised by. The behemoth colossal squid can reach sizes of sizes of 495 kg (1091 lbs) and 4.2 meters (13.8 feet). The colossal squid’s competitor? The Antarctic toothfish reaching a puny 200 cm (6.5 feet) and 80 kg (176 pounds) in length at is biggest. Not exactly the size to take on the hooked tentacular mass of a colossal squid. Yet attacks and feedings of this two biological killing machines on each other occurs frequently in the natural world’s answer to Alien vs. Predator.

Remeslo and colleagues*** report 71 toothfish with deep wounds from squid beaks or scratches from suckers.

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WHO Says Widely-Used Dow Herbicide ‘Possibly Carcinogenic’ to Humans

"We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops," said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

“We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. Read more of Sarah Lazare’s posts here.

The World Health Organization revealed on Tuesday that 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic, a key ingredient of a widely-used herbicide produced by Dow, is “possibly carcinogenic” to humans—a classification that public health and environmental advocates say is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall dangers the chemical poses.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer—a Lyon, France-based wing of the WHO—published the findings Tuesday in The Lancet Oncology and also disclosed them in apublic statement (pdf).

The agency said there is “strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress that can operate in humans and moderate evidence that 2,4-D causes immunosuppression, based on in-vivo and in-vitro studies.”

The classification of “possibly carcinogenic” puts 2,4-D two levels above “probably not carcinogenic” but one below “probably carcinogenic.”

This development did not come as a shock to public health and environmental advocates.

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